Continued inability of TDs to scrutinise Oberstown Report ‘outrageous’ – Mitchell
Sinn Féin Spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Denise Mitchell TD has said the failure to publish the Operational Review into Oberstown Youth Detention Campus is ‘an outrageous decision’ that simply raises more questions about practices and policies at the campus.
While questioning the authors of the Report – Professor Barry Goldson and Professor Nick Hardwick – at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Children and Youth Affairs, the authors indicated that full publication is required to fully understand many of their recommendations.
Speaking after the Committee meeting, Deputy Mitchell said:
“Recommendations in the Report talk about how young people should never be subjected to cavity searches, others speak about how strip searches should only be undertaken in exceptional circumstances when authorised by the Director. The thing that worries me, and I think many others on the Committee, is how such recommendations came about? And we are still none the wiser.
“It was 2017 when this report was undertaken and the reticence of the Board and the Minister to publish the Review makes it look like there is something to hide,” Deputy Mitchell said.
“It is my very firm view that the continued refusal to publish the Operational Review in full is a failure of the young people detained there. I cannot see how the Minister can stand over this decision nor how she believes the rights of these young people are best upheld by non-publication.
“Young people detained in Oberstown are particularly vulnerable. And we as legislators must have access to the full facts in order to properly scrutinise practices and the regime at that detention centre.”
During the Committee meeting, Deputy Mitchell also outlined to members of the Oberstown Board that it was her view that the refusal to publish the Report was hindering and obstructing the ability of legislators to do their job.