Response to Industrial Action at Oberstown Child Detention School

Published date: 
30 Aug 2016

Press Release

The Children’s Rights Alliance is concerned about the developments that have taken place at Oberstown Child Detention School since yesterday morning, 29 August 2016.

Responding to the situation in Oberstown, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said, “Our key concern is the safety and welfare of the young people in Oberstown. We recognise that there is an ongoing industrial dispute but management and staff both have a responsibility to protect the young people in their care and ensure that their dignity is maintained while in detention.

We welcome the steps that Oberstown management has taken in recent times to build relationships with the young people in their care. However, we remain concerned that locking children and young people in their rooms - effectively placing them in solitary confinement - will adversely impact on their mental health and will undermine the important relationship-building that has taken place.
In circumstances where places of detention are understaffed, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) has called on governments to take urgent steps to address budget and staffing levels. It has stated that it is fundamental to have sufficient number of staff members working in a facility who are well trained and supervised. It also stresses that the authorities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of staff and detainees as well as providing decent conditions of detention.

We welcome the strong commitment by Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Katherine Zappone TD to ensure that no child will be placed in adult detention. It is critical that the Minister and Government are fully supported to ensure that is no return to a situation whereby children under 18 are placed in adult facilities. The closure of St. Patrick’s institution was a hugely important step in recognising children in detention as children first and foremost. All sides must work together to resolve this dispute as a matter of urgency particularly given that further industrial action is planned over the coming weeks”.

For further information, please contact: Tanya Ward, Chief Executive
Tel: 01 662 9400 / 087 653 1069
Note for Editors

  • Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for interview
  • The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) is a Council of Europe body comprising independent and impartial experts from a variety of backgrounds, including lawyers, medical doctors and specialists in prison or police matters. The CPT conducts visits to places of detention including prisons and juvenile detentions centres to assess the treatment of people in detention. It issues reports to governments which include recommendations for improvement. More information can be found at: