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Oberstown staff attacked after youths get hands on arsenal of weapons

NewsBy Robin Schiller
The Garda riot squad was called in to help restore order Photo: Arthur Carron
The Garda riot squad was called in to help restore order Photo: Arthur Carron

A member of staff at the troubled Oberstown youth detention centre was injured during a late-night attack.

During the three-hour stand-off, two young offenders gained access to the education block after stealing a worker's swipe card.

They then armed themselves with hammers, a saw, a Stanley knife, a power-drill and steel bars before threatening staff.

One of the workers was assaulted as he tried to stop the armed youths.

He received medical attention but it is understood he did not require hospital treatment.

The inmates then tried to break into Unit 7 of the Lusk facility, with the intention of assaulting another offender.

Sources said the dispute is linked to a feud on the outside between two young offenders.

Despite being armed with saws and a power-drill, they failed to break into the unit and proceeded to scale the perimeter wall and clambered on to a roof.

The Garda riot squad was called in, and a specialist negotiator was also called to the scene and persuaded the youths to disarm themselves.

After a tense stand-off, the teenagers eventually climbed down from the roof at 2am yesterday.

It is the latest security alert to occur at the under fire facility and is expected to be investigated along with a string of other escapes and attacks on staff.

Fianna Fail spokesperson on Children Youth Affairs Anne Rabbitte last night said that the situation at the campus is "spiralling out of control" and that more needs to be done to ensure staff safety.

"We are seeing violent incidents erupting on an almost weekly basis and this is simply unacceptable.

"There are serious concerns for the safety of residents and staff, with workers at the centre being threatened on a regular basis," Ms Rabbitte said.

"I have raised these concerns numerous times with Minister Katherine Zappone, and despite the fact that an independent review of the situation at Oberstown is underway, the safety threat is not diminished.