Major new youth justice initiative

   Thursday 6th March 2008
   Slieve Russell Hotel Co. Cavan

   The Minister for Children, Brendan Smith TD, today announced a new
   national detention facility to cater for all children up to 18 years,
   who are ordered to be detained by the courts. The facility will be
   developed on a single site at the existing Oberstown Campus in Lusk, Co.

   Speaking at the first biennial conference of the Irish Youth Justice
   Service at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Co. Cavan, Minister Smith said: ‘The
   new facility will provide a total of 167 places in safe and secure
   accommodation. This capital development will facilitate the transfer of
   responsibility for 16-17 year old boys from the Irish Prison Service
   (St. Patrick’s Institution) in the first phase of development, and
   enable them to be accommodated within children detention schools. All
   detention schools are managed by the Irish Youth Justice Service, which
   is an executive office of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law

   This site is already owned by the State and is the location of three
   existing children detention schools. ‘The new facilities will replace
   existing outdated detention schools and will provide modern, safe and
   secure accommodation which will be as advanced as anywhere in the world’
   added Mr Smith.

   ‘I am delighted that the Cabinet has given the green light for this
   major capital development, which will have significant implications for
   the way the State caters for some of its most troubled children and I am
   confident will lead to better outcomes. This is in keeping with the
   philosophy of my Office (the Office of the Minister for Children), which
   deals with children's issues in an integrated and holistic way and
   involves three Departments; Health and Children, the Early Years Unit of
   the Department of Education and Science, and the Irish Youth Justice
   Service of the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, working
   together for the improved co-ordination of services.  The new national
   children detention facility will operate according to best international
   standards. It will herald a new departure in the way we can support
   these children to turn away from crime and to re-integrate into their
   families and communities’
continued the Minister.

   This project will result in the transfer of the current facility based
   in Finglas (Finglas Child and Adolescent Centre) to the site in Lusk.
   ‘In this regard, I have agreed to establish an inter-departmental
   working group to examine possible future uses of the existing site at
   Finglas, for children who come before the courts’
added Minister Smith.
   The terms of reference and membership of the group will be announced

   ‘Planning for the development of the new facilities will commence
   immediately. All stakeholders including staff, unions, and local
   community will be consulted on an on-going basis during the development
he added.

   The Minister concluded by noting that the first National Youth Strategy
   will be launched later this month.