Oberstown Detention Centre in breach of national safety standards

The centre has failed to meet eight out of ten standards set by government

Oberstown Detention Centre in breach of national safety standards

File photo: Oberstown Detention Centre, taken 29-08-2016. Image: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews

Updated 12:50

Ireland's national child detention facility has failed to meet eight out of ten standards set by government, according to a new report.

The findings were published in the latest HIQA (Health Information and Quality Authority) report into the Oberstown Children Detention Campus in Dublin.

The report comes following a string of high profile episodes at the campus.

Last year a fire broke out at the centre, after a group of young people climbed on to the roof during a protest.

In Late May meanwhile, two people escaped the facility, while a third was apprehended before leaving the campus.

The centre opened as a combined care, health, and education facility encompassing Oberstown Boy's School, Oberstown Girl's School and Trinity House in May 2016.

Following an announced inspection in March, the facility was found to be in compliance with only two of the ten national 'Standards & Criteria for Children Detention Schools' which were introduced in 2004.

The centre was found to have a moderate non-compliance with six of the standards - while major breaches were discovered under two headings.

Action plan

Speaking this afternoon, campus director Pat Bergin said management accepted the findings of the report - noting that that an action plan has been put in place to address the issues highlighted.

"We are pleased that the HIQA report documents the progress that has been made at Oberstown to date," he said. 

“However as the report highlights, Oberstown is going through a period of major change and challenges remain.

"The Action Plan that has been developed will assist in meeting these and further build on the progress achieved at the Campus as a single facility, over the last year.”

Major breaches

The major breaches were found in categories governing the day-to-day quality of care provided to young people and the arrangements regarding health care in the facility.

Inspectors noted that children continued to held in single separation for prolonged periods  and warned that there is a lack of robust oversight regarding how this separation is managed and monitored.

While children's complaints were listened to, the inspectors noted that the complaints process is not sufficiently robust and not all staff had received the required level of training regarding Ireland's national child protection guidelines.

The overall provision of health care on the campus was found to have improved, however Inspectors identified two serious risks over the storage and administration of medicines to children. 

Action plan

HIQA noted that the campus has undergone significant changes since the previous inspection with new governance arrangements introduced, an increased workforce and the introductions of an electronic system of recording and managing information.

The centre's overall approach to the management of behaviour was under review at the time of the HIQA inspection.

The campus director has provided written assurance to HIQA that concerns over storage and administration of medicines have been addressed - and the centre has published an action plan to address the issues highlighted by the report.