3 Apr 2012

The Ombudsman for Children in Ireland, Emily Logan, has welcomed the government’s decision to stop sending children to detention at St Patrick’s Institution in Dublin.

On Tuesday, the minister for children and youth affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, said that no 16 or 17-year-olds would be held there within three years.

St Patrick’s Institution in Dublin

Ms Logan said the 50m euro to be spent developing the National Children Detention Facility at Oberstown would help prevent teens from turning to criminality as adults.

On Monday, Ms Fitzgerald said the detention of children in St Patrick’s Institution had been criticised for more than 25 years by domestic and international observers, as being “inappropriate for the rehabilitation of children and addressing their needs”.

She said the development would allow the young people involved to be given a secure environment that will offer them a second chance to be productive people who contribute to society.

The Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) said the move was “historic”.

It said: “Over the past 25 years, successive governments have made commitments to ending the imprisonment of children in Ireland, but this is the first time we have seen a concrete plan and a concrete timeline.”