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HSE to shut children’s secure unit.

5th November 2009

The Health Service Executive announced today that the Special Care Unit for children in Ballydowd, West Dublin will close, following an independent report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in which practices at the unit received serious criticism. The HSE is planning to transfer services to other facilities, as the report suggested that the Care Unit was "no longer acceptable for the detention of children."

HIQA’s report occurred after alarm about practices in the Care Unit was brought to their notice last May. They are critical of newly built apartments which currently overlook the unit; this has imposed on the children’s privacy according to HIQA. Other criticisms included poor record-keeping in case work of children and delays in written notifications of events affecting children, including alleged abuse. HIQA has recommended that an independent childcare manager will inspect complaints in relation to senior managers.

For more details, listen to the Morning Ireland report on the serious concerns inspectors had about the Special Care Unit.

Forthcoming IPRT report

IPRT will shortly launch a report on international standards and best practice in the detention of children. The Detention of Children: International Standards and Best Practice is critical of the failure thus far to fully implement international human rights standards in child detention. It examines how these objectives can be effectively put into practice in an Irish context. The Report hopes to influence the design and best practice of the new National Children Detention Facility to be built at Oberstown in Lusk, Co. Dublin.

The report examines specific stanndards to a number of related areas including physical environment, education and staffing requirements, highlighting examples of good practices in other European countries.

While the report deals primarily with the detention of children in conflict with the law, it is hoped that the standards - which apply equally to all children in detention - will be of use to any agency involved in the detention of children in Ireland.

More information on the IPRT Report:

More information on the closure of the children’s secure unit:

Learn more