Sir, - I read Christine Buckley's article, "Putting Children Last." How naive we, the electorate, have been, marooned in a sea of ignorance! Coughing up money for preceding Bills, which we all know now have not worked.
Having read the Bill myself, what alarmed me most was that of its 115 pages only two dealt with parents of troubled children. Why is it that the parents are only invited for discussion in the Garda station when the child has committed a crime? Surely that child displayed signs of emotional turmoil and distress years before the first crime. What went so radically wrong in the home in the interim?
It costs the taxpayer £350 000 a year to keep such a child in Trinity House. Should that child continue on his or her crime spree - and many of them do, due to lack of parental responsibility and support - they will find themselves in St. Patrick's Institution at a cost of £372,000 a year - equivalent to a teacher's salary for five years. Meanwhile Mountjoy Prison costs the taxpayer £3, 120,000, which unfortunately will become almost a permanent home for many of these young criminals.
I salute and support Christine Buckley's suggestion. We need a Parents' Responsibilities Act urgently. - Yours, etc,
Taney Rise, Goatstown,