IMPACT concerns over Oberstown House

Wednesday 16th April 2013

IMPACT’s Irish Youth Justice branch has raised concerns about Department of Children and Youth Affairs plans to accommodate clients from St Patrick’s Institution and newly remanded 17 year-olds at a facility on the Oberstown campus.

At its annual general meeting last month, the branch unanimously passed a motion expressing concern at the plans and the lack of engagement with staff in relation to staffing levels and other issues. The meeting was attended by national secretary Louise O’Donnell and assistant general secretary Catherine Keogh, who represents staff at the Oberstown campus.

The branch has welcomed the minister’s initiative, which is designed to accommodate all detained under-18s at a single location. But the branch believes there is inadequate staffing to deal with this on the campus. The branch said it is concerned about the impact of the new proposals on current services available to younger clients, and “the ability to meet the increased demands associated with larger numbers and a wider category of clients.”

The branch is seeking an urgent meeting with the ministers concerned to outline concerns and to seek active engagement in relation to the proposals.

Louise O’Donnell has since written to minister Frances Fitzgerald and to the chairman of the Oberstown board, Joe Horan to seek a meeting. In response to Louise’s correspondence, it was confirmed that the Oberstown board has approved an independent examination of the proposals, which is ongoing.

Mr Horan has confirmed he will meet union representatives after the board has considered the findings of the independent examination.