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Warrant out for teen who dodged custody due to Oberstown overcrowding

CourtsBy Tom Tuite
Oberstown was full so the teen could not be detained earlier this week
Oberstown was full so the teen could not be detained earlier this week

A JUDGE has ordered the arrest of a teenage boy who dodged being detained earlier this week because the Oberstown youth detention facility 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 has been barred from his mother's home following a domestic incident.

He is charged with criminal damage on to a chair on Aug. 25 at his north inner city Dublin home where his mother resides. 

On Tuesday, he avoided being remanded in custody and was granted bail and ordered to appear again on Thursday however he did not show up. The boy's mother was present but after he was barred from residing with her and he has been staying at his grandmother's home in Dublin.

Judge O'Connor was told yesterday (thur) that gardai established that the teen left his granny's home at 9.20am. However, when the boy did not come to court the judge acceded to a request for a bench warrant to be issued to have him arrested.

On Friday, he was first 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 then 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.

He also broke the curfew over the next two days. The court heard there was a difficult family situation and when the boy came to court on Tuesday he arrived “with a bag packed” and was consenting to being held in custody.

But enquiries were made and the court was told there were “no beds today” at the Oberstown detention centre. He was then allowed back out on bail.

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.