[Posted 4pm on Mon 29th Aug 2016]
IPRT is extremely concerned about the reports of continued industrial action at Oberstown Child Detention School, today 29 August 2016, particularly reports that children have been confined to their bedrooms from 8am to 4pm today.
The industrial action pursued is directly jeopardizing the ethos of care and welfare that the child detention school was intended to uphold. This action will have disastrous consequences for the care and welfare of young people and threatens to further exacerbate the existing problems of the detained children and young people by creating conditions of effective solitary confinement* and denying access to meaningful education and activities. The rapid deterioration of the situation this afternoon demonstrates the need for both sides to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible to prevent further incidents like this occurring in the future.
Executive Director Deirdre Malone said today:
“The nature of the action taken today is directly detrimental to the care and welfare of the children and young people detained at Oberstown. The rapid deterioration of the situation demonstrates the need for both sides to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible to prevent further incidents like this occurring in the future. IPRT urges open dialogue between all parties - staff, management, and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs- to ensure that the issues are resolved swiftly without any further adverse impact on the safety, rights, and wellbeing of children and young people."
We state these specific concerns in the context of our existing concerns about adequate staffing levels, staff training, and the overuse of detention on remand for young people aged under eighteen, and the crucial importance that good relationships between staff and detained children and young people play in reducing tensions and ensuring a safe and secure environment for everyone.
Deirdre Malone is available for further comment on 083 441 7577
*Solitary confinement is defined as being confined in isolation for 22 or more hours per day.