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Oberstown Review must put best practice and safety to the fore – Ó Laoghaire

19 September, 2016 - by Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD

Speaking today on the Department’s decision to conduct a review of operations at Oberstown Detention Centre, Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson for Children and Youth Affairs Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire said that this development was welcome, but a long overdue intervention by Minister Zappone.

Deputy Ó Laoghaire said:

“The issues regarding resources, the safety of children and staff, training and risk assessments have been raised by myself, and other TDs in both April and May of this year, and by employees long before that. I am glad that the Minister has eventually intervened.

“It is now vitally important that all stakeholders are involved in this process, including the residents themselves, and it is crucial that the concerns of staff are listened to and acted upon.

“Given the industrial dispute that has been ongoing for quite some time now, and the decision by both parties to attend the WRC in recent weeks, I would ask to what level will a review of practices by management be undertaken?

“It is also important that the Oireachtas committee on children is involved, and I hope that Professors Goldson and Hardwick are invited before the committee.

“The review is certainly required, and in that sense is welcome. I hope to see terms of reference that consider best practice and safety to be of paramount importance, where risk assessments are carried out and adhered to. The safety of both the young people and the staff must be placed front and centre at all times.

“Finally, I wish to acknowledge the staff at Oberstown for the tremendous work they do on a daily basis. Any review that does not incorporate all of their concerns, as well as those of the residents, may be seen as a pointless endeavour lacking in substance.” 

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