Disturbed boy must remain in remand unit


A High Court judge yesterday said he had no choice but to order that a sick and troubled child, whom it is believed may be suffering a form of high-functioning autism, remain in a remand centre.

The alternative was to return the 15-year-old to his "extremely dysfunctional" family, where there was a history of violence, or to the streets, Mr Justice Kelly said. He had a report from a psychiatrist who stated he would be "frightened" for the boy should he be returned to his family home.

The judge said these was an extensive history of violence by the boy's father towards his mother and the other children in the family. The mother could not cope and often displayed hysterical behaviour which, in the circumstances, was understandable, but this also had an adverse effect on the boy.

What the child needed was secure accommodation where he would receive medical, nursing and psychological care. He was a sick child functioning at a level of years below his actual age. He had poor social capabilities and obsessive preoccupations.

He granted an order to Mr Gerry Durcan SC, for the boy, directing he remain at St Michael's Remand and Assessment Unit in Finglas, Dublin. The order was made returnable to Monday next.

Mr Durcan said the view of psychiatrists and social workers was that the boy should be placed in the Eastern Health Board unit at Newtown House but there was no place available there.

The judge said inquiries should be made as to whether accommodation might be provided for the boy at centres not operated by the EHB. If such accommodation was available, he would consider an application to send the boy there, at the expense of the board.

Mr Durcan also sought, and was granted, leave to take judicial review proceedings against the board, the Minister for Education, Ireland and the Attorney General.

In the proceedings, Mr Durcan is seeking orders directing the provision of suitable and secure accommodation and education for the boy on the grounds that the State has a constitutional duty to provide these.