The Health Service Executive has said it plans to close a children's high-support unit in Co Monaghan after the Health Information and Quality Authority expressed serious concern about the unit.

HIQA said children were being locked into the Rath na nÓg unit at Castleblayney despite the occurrence of several fires in a short period prior to the inspection.

It also expressed concern about bullying and assaults at the unit in a report published this morning.

The HSE said arrangements were being made to transfer the two children in Rath na nÓg.

It also said staff would be redeployed.

"The closure of the unit is in line with the services national policy to decommission high-support units and increase the services capacity of Special Care Services," the HSE said.

The unit catered for children between the ages of 12 and 17.

HIQA said residents were being locked into the unit between 9pm and 7.30am the following morning to prevent them from leaving.

This was despite the fact that there had been four fires in a six-month period before the inspection.

The report also said children at the centre were subject to systemic bullying, with some being assaulted.

There have been dozens of occasions when some of the residents were absent from the centre and at risk.

Tanya Ward of the Children's Rights Alliance said the report showed the Rath na nÓg unit was a shambles.

She said the centre was unsafe for both staff and children and welcomed the decisive action taken by the HSE to close down the centre.

Ms Ward added that there is a problem providing enough spaces for young people who need high support but the HSE has been focussing on this area.