Judge’s anger over missing youth

Case compared to time given to establishing identity of Australian woman

The lack of interest in the case of a young offender missing for five weeks from a HSE care facility was compared yesterday by a District Court judge to the 2,000 Garda hours given to establishing the identity of a 25-year old Australian woman.

"It's like living in a lottery system," Judge Séamus Hughes at Athlone District Court said. "This young man has gone missing for five weeks, but I wake up this morn- ing and the papers are covered with the hunt for this missing Australian girl. There's no interest in this man. It's
laughable. The whole thing is wrong."

He was speaking in the context of the case of a 16-year- old youth who had been mis- sing for five weeks from a HSE care unit in Co Louth in September and October.

The youth was back in cus- tody and in court yesterday to answer a number of charges of assault causing harm committed in October while he was at large from HSE care.


He was last up in court in July when Judge Hughes remanded him to Oberstown House in Lusk in the knowledge there was no bed available and knowing the boy
would then be taken to a non-secure HSE care facility in Co Louth, from which he had absconded 14 times that month alone. He did this to highlight the lack of appropriate places for such youths.

The boy was remanded in custody, to reappear in Mullingar tomorrow “to see where this lottery system goes”.