Government jet could be used to fly troubled teens to UK facility
THE government jet may be called on to transfer an extremely troubled Irish teenager to a specialised secure psychiatric facility in the UK, the High Court heard today.
The court was told the boy, who had been engaged in prostitution and is at risk of self harm, had spent lengthy periods in both secure and non-secure placements in Ireland.
These placements had not worked out and the Child and Family Agency (CFA) say the best option for him, who has a complex range of problems. is that he be placed at the St Andrews Healthcare facility in Northampton, England.
The teen has a history of absconding, alcohol and drug abuse, has been violent towards staff at facilities he had been placed at, and had damaged property.
At Tuesday's sitting of the High Court Mr Justice Raymond Fullam granted the CFA various orders allowing it transfer the 16 year old boy to the St Andrews Healthcare facility. The teenager cannot be identified for legal reasons.
Counsel for the CFA, Tim O'Leary SC, said it was hoped that the care and expertise offered by St Andrews could do something to help the boy who had had first came to the attention of the CFA some years ago, and had made claims that he had been sexually abused.
Mr O’Leary said the boy had spent "a record time" in secure placements in Ireland. Unfortunately, through no fault of staff working at those facilities, nothing could be done for him.
In recent months he had been moved to a non secure placement. Counsel said again this did not work and he had gone "out of control". He was at serious risk of self harm, came to the attention of the gardai and had engaged in prostitution.
Mr O’Leary said the teen was vulnerable to sexual exploitation and in order to keep him safe he had been put back in secure care. There was now a fear the boy could become institutionalised but it was hoped the specialised care on offer at St Andrews could assist him.
Counsel said the teenager’s preferred option was to stay in Ireland but that he had accepted St Andrews, which is the biggest psychiatric hospital in Europe where a number of Irish children have been transferred to in the past, was the best option.
Mr O’Leary said that once the transfer arrangement was finalised the boy would be taken either by helicopter or by government jet to St Andrews and would be accompanied by his social worker, medical staff and members of the Gardai.
Counsel said it was envisaged the transfer could take place in the coming days.
The court also heard the teen's court appointed guardian was "100% in favour" of the transfer, while his mother was reluctantly supporting the move of her son to St Andrews.
After making the order approving the transfer to St Andrews, Judge Fullam adjourned the matter to a date in October.