Youth avoids Oberstown detention as judge told ‘no beds today’

Teen banned from his home over domestic incident avoids centre because it is full

 Residents of the Oberstown Children Detention Campus, Dublin,  climbed  onto the roof of one of the buildings on Monday, August 29th, 2016. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Residents of the Oberstown Children Detention Campus, Dublin, climbed onto the roof of one of the buildings on Monday, August 29th, 2016. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

A teenage boy who was banned from his home following a domestic incident avoided being sent to the Oberstown youth detention centre today because it was full.

The 48-bed Oberstown Children Detention Campus facility in Lusk in north Co Dublin is the State’s main detention facility for offenders aged under 17.

Youths had run amok at the centre on Monday night and extensive damage was caused when a rooftop blaze broke out.

The 16-year-old boy, who appeared in court today, is charged with criminal damage to a chair on August 25th at his north inner city Dublin home, where his mother also resides.

Strict conditions

On Friday he had been 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 at his second hearing today.

Garda Peter Redmond 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 teenager was in possession of a petrol can and a bike, but could not explain why he had the petrol can.

The boy told gardaí he was going to his grandmother’s home, but when that was checked the following day gardaí were told he did not arrive until early in the morning. He also broke the curfew over the next two days.

Difficult situation

Defence solicitor Colleen Gildernew told Judge Marie Keane there was a difficult family situation and the boy had come to court “with a bag packed” and was consenting to being held in custody.

Judge Keane indicated she would remand him in custody, but inquiries were made and she was told there were “no beds today” at the Oberstown detention centre.

The teenager sat silently with his arms folded during the hearing. His mother was present but did not address the court.

Judge Keane released the boy on bail to appear again later this week.

Investigation under way

An investigation is being carried out at the detention facility following chaotic incidents on Monday night when one staff member was injured and fire broke out on a rooftop, which was badly damaged.

Eight of the detainees had managed to get onto the roof.

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.

Further stoppages are expected in September.