Boy taken into HSE care over ‘chronic’ bed crisis

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Judge Eugene O'Kelly
A 16-year-old boy has been placed in the care of the Health Service Executive after a judge was told there is no bed available at any of the country’s juvenille detention centres.

A 16-year-old boy has been placed in the care of the Health Service Executive after a judge was told there is no bed available at any of the country’s juvenille detention centres.

Judge Eugene O’Kelly said he had “no choice” but to release the boy on bail, even though he was informed that neither of his parents were willing to allow him home.

The youth, who can’t be named because of his age, is currently awaiting trial for his role in the alleged false 
imprisonment of a young man in the Castletroy area last year.

Last week, he had his bail revoked in relation to that matter after gardai informed the court he had breached the conditions of his bail on numerous occasions over the past few months.

Despite revoking the youth’s bail, Judge O’Kelly said he had to release him after he was informed that there was no place available at a “suitable detention facility”.

Earlier this week, the youth was brought before a special sitting of the Children’s Court after he was charged with causing criminal damage at his father’s home on Sunday afternoon.

Sgt Donal Cronin said enquiries had been made and that, again, there was no bed available for the youth.

The judge refused bail but noting there were no available beds, he said he was being “forced to make an order to release him”.

The judge said he was aware that a senior official at the Department of Children had recently told a colleague of his in Dublin that the situation was being addressed as a matter of urgency.

“Despite those assurances, the situation remains chronic,” he commented adding: that the youth “had certainly has been sinned against by the State who are unable to provide a secure place for his detention”.

The boy was released on bail pending directions later this month.

However, following the proceedings, gardai invoked Section 12 of the Child Care Act and took him to University Hospital Limerick where he was placed in the temporary care of the HSE.