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RTÉ: Decision to withhold publication of a key review of operations at Oberstown

11th November 2018

In a programme aired on Sunday 11th November 2018, RTÉ Radio One ‘This Week’ reported on the decision to withhold publication of a key review of operations at Oberstown Detention Campus conducted in 2016/17.

In August this year, Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Katherine Zappone TD stated that the review would not be published due to “passage of time”. Correspondence obtained by ‘This Week’ under the Freedom of Information Act shows that the Department of Children and Youth Affairs had been informed that the board would not publish the report because of legal risks. The response of the authors of the Operational Review, Professor Nick Hardwick and Professor Barry Goldson, is included in the news report.

IPRT’s Deirdre Malone spoke to RTÉ Radio One’s Justin McCarthy about the importance of independent oversight:

“Independent external oversight forms a crucial role in the protection of human rights and the prevention of ill treatment in places where anyone is detained, but particularly children.”

Oberstown noted that the recommendations in the report had been published and an action plan to implement these recommendations has also been made public. Echoing previous statements from IPRT, Ms Malone highlighted that full accountability requires public scrutiny:

“It's really important that when a report of this type is commissioned that once it has been completed that there is public scrutiny of the full contents of that report. Accountability requires publication in those types of circumstances and not just the recommendations or the actions taken in response, but also the factual findings.”

“We know from the HIQA reports that there have been significant improvements in the last year in Oberstown, [and] that in itself is evidence of the effectiveness of having independent investigations with published findings.”

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