No places to hold teen in Oberstown

No places to hold teen in Oberstown

A TEENAGE boy, who was banned from his home following a domestic incident, avoided being sent to the Oberstown youth detention facility today because it was full.

The 48-bed facility in Lusk in north Co. Dublin is the State's main detention facility for offenders aged under 17. Youths ran amok at the centre on Monday night and extensive damage was caused when a rooftop blaze broke out.

The 16-year-old boy, who appeared in court on Tuesday is charged with criminal damage on to a chair on Aug. 25 at his north inner city Dublin home where his mother resides.

On Friday, he was granted bail with strict conditions: he had to stay away from his mother's address; reside in another part of Dublin with a grandparent and obey a 9pm – 9am curfew.

He faced objections to bail when he faced his second hearing on Tuesday. Garda Peter Redmond told the Dublin Children's Court that at 1am on Saturday the teenager was found at Mountjoy Square in Dublin “under the influence”. At the time, the teen was in possession of a petrol can and a bike but could not explain why he had them.

The boy told gardai he was going to his grandmother's home but when that was checked the following day gardai were told he did not arrive until early in the morning. He also broke the curfew over the next two days.

Defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew told Judge Marie Keane that there was a difficult family situation and the boy had come to court “with a bag packed” and was consenting to being held in custody.

Judge Keane indicated that she would remand in custody but enquiries were made and she was told there were “no beds today” at the Oberstown detention centre. The teenager sat silently with his arms folded during the hearing. His mother was also present but did not address the court.

Judge Keane released the boy on bail to appear again later this week.

Meanwhile an investigation is being carried out at the detention facility following chaotic incidents when one staff member was injured and a rooftop fire broke out at the facility on Monday night. Eight of the detainees managed to get onto the roof of the residential unit which was badly damaged by fire.

An eight-hour stoppage was held by staff on Monday protesting against working conditions at the campus which expanded in recent years to accommodate older youths. Further stoppages are expected to be held in September.