Children's Ombudsman welcomes St Patrick's closure

Thursday 04 July 2013 11.19
Emily Logan said relocating offenders to Wheatfield must be a short-term solution
Emily Logan said relocating offenders to Wheatfield must be a short-term solution

The Children's Ombudsman has said staff working with young offenders need to be "carefully selected" in order to ensure the "culture" of St Patrick's Institution is not replicated elsewhere.

The Minister for Justice yesterday announced the closure of St Patrick's Institution following a recommendation from the Inspector of Prisons.

All 17-year-olds serving sentences in the institution will now be transferred to a dedicated unit in Wheatfield Prison in an interim arrangement before new facilities are opened in Oberstown in 2014.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ombudsman Emily Logan said staff working in either Wheatfield or Oberstown need to be suitable to work with young people.

"The staff need to be carefully selected, even in this short-term arrangement in Wheatfield, people need to be carefully selected to ensure they are fit to work with young people," she said.

Ms Logan said she intends to visit Wheatfield prison tomorrow, where she will meet the Director of the Prison Service.

She said she will seek his assurance that the "very deeply ingrained dysfunctional cultures which existed in St Patrick's won't be replicated in Wheatfield".

Ms Logan welcomed the closure of St Patrick's Institution.

However, she said the move to Wheatfield must only be "a short-term solution" and the move to the Oberstown site still must be completed.