A THIRTEEN-year-old boy from Limerick city who a court heard is “practically uncontrollable” was arrested by gardai as the HSE does not have a suitable place for him.
The youngster, who cannot be named, appeared before the Children’s Court charged with assaulting a care worker and causing thousands of euro worth of damage at a HSE care facility in the city. Supt John Scanlan, Roxboro, told the court the defendant had also threatened care workers at a number of other HSE facilities across the country on dates in February and March and, he said, more than €40,000 worth of damage was caused by the teenager who “went missing” on a number of occasions.
The court was told one that of the care centres where he went missing from is located in West Limerick.
Supt Scanlan said gardai, in consultation with National Juvenile Office, “reluctantly” charged the youth in relation to the most recent incident, which occurred last week.
“There is a view on the Garda side that we should not criminalise him,” he said adding that gardai would be willing to withdraw the charges if a place becomes available for the defendant at a secure facility.
Solicitor Ted McCarthy, representing the teenager, said there were “behavioural difficulties” with his client, who has been in the care of the HSE for a number of months.
Solicitor Muiris Gavin, representing the HSE, said a decision has been made that the defendant should be placed in a secure care unit. However he said: “Availability is the current issue and we are actively looking at where he can go,” he said.
Mr Gavin added that the teenager is “practically uncontrollable” and he said his “pattern of behaviour” would most likely, have continued had gardai not intervened.
Judge Tom O’Donnell said he had concerns that an application has not yet been made to the High Court for a special care order and he urged the HSE to “set things in train.”
The judge noted that Trinity House in Dublin, where the defendant is being detained, requires a further two weeks to fully assess the defendant and he adjourned the case until April 19 next.