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IPRT welcomes publication of Prisons Bill 2015

3rd December 2015

IPRT welcomes the publication today by Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald TD of the Prisons Bill 2015, which will provide for the complete closure of St Patrick’s Institution. A key commitment to ending the practice of detaining children in St Patrick's Institution was included in the Programme for Government 2011-2016.

The Prisons Bill 2015 is available here.

Progress towards the ending of committals on remand to St Patrick’s Institution has been made possible by concrete commitments secured in 2012 by then Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and current Minister for Justice and Equality,  Frances Fitzgerald TD.

Minister for Children and Youth affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, signed the ministerial orders required to end the practice of remanding children to St Patrick’s Institution on 17th March 2015. The enactment of the Children (Amendment) Act 2015 earlier this year, for which the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs was responsible, was another part of the process. 

While welcoming the positive development today, IPRT remains concerned about the 13 boys who are detained today in Wheatfield Place of Detention, an adult prison environment, in contravention of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Building on the progress achieved by the current Government following decades of inaction on St Patrick's Institution, it is crucial that a commitment to ending, finally, the ongoing practice of detaining children in adult prison facilities in Ireland is included in the next Programme for Government.

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