Traumatised care workers at Dublin centre for troubled children 'scared of vicious teen'

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Traumatised care workers at Dublin centre for troubled children 'scared of vicious teen'

TRAUMATISED care workers at one of the country's main secure centres for troubled children cannot handle a 16-year-old boy who is facing trial for attacking a staff member.

The boy appeared at the Dublin Children's Court today, accused of assault causing harm to a male at Ballydowd Young People's Centre in Lucan on Tuesday.

The court also heard that there will probably be further charges brought against the youth who cannot be named for legal reasons.

The secure therapeutic centre is a special facility which holds extremely troubled children who have been detained by order of High Court for their own care and welfare.

The facility can hold about 10 young people.

In an objection to bail, Garda Michelle Cannon said staff at the special care centre cannot cope with the boy and "are afraid of him". 

She also said the teenager has said he will "keep assaulting staff until he gets out".

Defence solicitor Gareth Noble said the boy, who has had a drug issue, has been deemed to be "at the most serious end of the spectrum" and found it very difficult being held in the centre where he was placed recently. 

It was easier when he was held in a detention centre arising out of criminal proceedings because he had a release date and could mark off the dates on a calendar, Mr Noble said. However, the care centre is different. He also said that a number of professional assessments of the boy have been carried out including ones in relation to autism.

The teenager was accompanied to court by his parents as well as staff from the care facility.

Judge O'Connor said it was an extremely difficult case, staff were traumatised and there needed to be a debate on how they can cope with assaults.

He granted bail to the boy but warned him that if there were further incidents, gardai would be in a better position to have him remanded in custody to the Oberstown juvenile detention centre.

The boy was warned that he must not asasult or commit criminal damage at the facility. He has not yet entered a plea.