Fianna Fáil’s Seanad Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has today strongly criticised Minister Katherine Zappone’s handling of recent revelations regarding youth offenders in Ireland.

Senator Clifford-Lee stated, “We have all been left horrified by the recent revelations that close to 8,000 crimes committed by young offenders were not correctly processed or appropriately dealt with due to Garda inaction.

“This is a colossal failure from the point of view of the victims affected by these crimes and who did not receive any sense of closure on what had happened to them but equally unacceptable that the young perpetrators were not rehabilitated to no longer pursue a life of criminality.

“What is the purpose of operating a Garda Youth Diversion Programme if it is not utilised to encourage hundreds of young offenders to engage with it?

“In a recent parliamentary response, the Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan TD confirmed that he has neither met with nor has any intention to meet with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to discuss the issues raised by this damning report.

“We cannot forget that this is not the first time a number of serious concerns have been raised over co-operation or the lack thereof between Tusla and An Garda Síochána. In fact successive reports have highlighted cracks in the relationship between these bodies

“The only people that suffer from the State’s inaction on this matter are the children and young people continuing down a bad path with no intervention and therefore no hope of being supported to lead a more fulfilling life away from crime,” she concluded.