Oberstown 'Descending Into A Full Blown Crisis' - FF

The assault of an inmate and two staff members is further evidence that the Oberstown Youth Detention Centre is "descending into a full blown crisis", Fianna Fáil has said.

The party's spokesperson for children, Robert Troy, strongly criticised Minister for Children James Reilly for failing to take on board the concerns raised by staff at the centre in recent months.

"The latest development at Oberstown youth detention centre is extremely worrying. The vicious assault that took place shows us that neither inmates nor the staff are safe at the facility as it currently stands," Deputy Troy said.

"Representatives of workers at the centre have pointed out that alarms failed to trigger and there is serious concern amongst staff regarding the level of training that they have received to deal with incidents such as this.

"This is not the first time there has been a serious assault at the facility and one has to question why inmates and staff remain at risk to injury.

"Staff feel frightened as a result of constant incidents of assault which are increasing in violence, a concern which has been vindicated after this latest incident.

"There is also chronic understaffing at the facility which is greatly contributing to the problem, and staff have not received adequate training to monitor and deal with violent inmates.

"The staff also feel vulnerable as a result of Balbriggan Garda station no longer being in a position to provide support and assistance when needed.

"Minister Reilly needs to get serious about tackling the chronic problems centre. He oversaw a major policy change at the facility which saw more troubled teens being introduced to the centre, but he failed to provide additional resourcing, manpower and training to ensure this policy change could be implemented correctly.

"The staff at the centre are terrified to go to work each day and many inmates feel increasingly vulnerable in what is effectively their home. The concerns raised by people on the ground in Oberstown have been well aired now and it is time for Minister Reilly to actually do something to resolve this crisis."


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