Young offenders escape from Oberstown after attacking staff

One youth was caught, two are still missing, after group took over staff office

Minister for Children Katherine Zappone has confirmed that two youths have absconded from Oberstown detention centre. The director of the centre was injured in the incident.

 

Gardaí are searching for two young offenders who escaped from Oberstown children’s detention campus on Monday night.

Three youths took over a staff office at the campus where a member of staff was attacked, while Director Pat Bergin suffered “a small injury”.

Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone said: “One has been caught, two are still missing. So that is upsetting and disappointing.”

Oberstown confirmed there was “a serious incident” at the campus while gardaí said they were called to the scene at 12.30am on Tuesday morning and are investigating.

“As this is a live investigation, we can’t offer further information,” said a Garda spokesman.

Ms Zappone said there is “always a risk that these things will happen”.

“There’s been a lot of positive changes in terms of security and the review and the implementation of changes in light of a security review. Incidents such as last night have gone down considerably,” Ms Zappone added.

The incident comes just hours after an event to mark Oberstown’s one-year anniversary as a single facility for care, health and education was held in Dublin city centre on Monday morning.

The chair of the board of management Prof Ursula Kilkelly told guests at the event that the last year has been “a very challenging time for the facility”.

Mr Bergin presented a strategic plan for the campus at the event which focused on providing the best possible care for young people, developing a motivated, cohesive and skilled workforce, defining high standards, prioritising communication and ensuring there are robust systems in place “to ensure effective accountability”.

“In the past year, significant improvements have been made on buildings and facilities on the campus and we have enhanced campus policies and services as well as training and supports for staff,” Mr Bergin said.

“Challenges will always remain, with change, with young people, but we are confident we can now respond better and we are now focused on moving forward, with everyone working together building the future of children’s detention in Ireland.”