Minister Fitzgerald welcomes progress on planning process and tendering for the new National Children Detention Facilities

Ms. Frances Fitzgerald T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has today welcomed the issue of request for tenders for the construction of the new National Children Detention Facilities (NCDF) at Oberstown, Lusk, Co. Dublin. This process will select the main contractor to deliver the construction stage of this project, scheduled to commence in May 2013. The projected project timeline estimate from the Commissioners of Public Works, managing the project on behalf of the Irish Youth Justice Service, indicates that the first new residential units, to provide sufficient capacity to enable the transfer of responsibility for 17 year old boys from St. Patrick’s Institution, will be available for use by mid 2014.

The Minister said: “This represents another important step toward meeting the commitment in the Programme for Government to end the practice of sending children to St. Patrick’s Institution. The Government has already demonstrated its commitment to this project by putting in place the required funding package, including an allocation of €20.4m in capital funding in the 2013 Estimates. I remain fully committed to ending the use of St. Patrick’s Institution for the detention of children by developing the required facilities on the Oberstown campus.”

Minister Fitzgerald also welcomed the fact that planning permission for the project has been received under Part 9 of the Planning and Development Regulations 2001-2011 “I welcome the fact that planning permission is now in place and the request for tenders issued for this priority project. It is my intention that the practice of detaining children in St. Patrick’s will cease when the first residential units of new detention accommodation under the project will be available. The timely delivery of this project is well under way through the work of the Office of Public Works and my Department. This project will complete a process on which substantial progress has already been made during 2012, with the transfer of responsibility for 16 year old boys from St. Patrick’s Institution to the children detention schools in Oberstown”.

The completion of the full scheme in 2015 will include the replacement of some existing accommodation on the campus which has reached the end of its useful life. The full development will deliver detention services for children in a single location which will maximise the scope for ensuring best practice standards using the children detention school model and operational efficiency.