Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Children and Youth Affairs
Child Detention Centres
1152. To ask the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs her plans to publish the report into the operation of the Oberstown children’s detention centre in the coming months; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [6847/20]
I assume the Deputy is referring to the report of an external independent review of operations and best practice at the Campus that was commissioned by the Oberstown Board of Management in September 2016. The review was undertaken by Professor Barry Goldson and Professor Nicholas Hardwick. The report was submitted to the Board of Management of Oberstown in February 2017 and to me in March 2017.
The Board of Oberstown took independent legal advice on the question of publication of the review, which stated that there were legal risks around publication. Following careful examination, the Board was not in a position to satisfy itself, or me, that fair procedures had been applied before the report was finalised and submitted. In light of the legal risks associated with publication, the Board, with great reluctance, decided not to publish the report. The Board considered it necessary to strike the balance between the public interest in publishing the report and avoiding the substantial legal risks associated with such publication. The Board published the recommendations of the review in full, together with a detailed Board response to each recommendation.
I also sought the advice of the Attorney General, who advised that publication of the report was fraught with legal risk. Following detailed consideration of the complex matters involved I concluded that it was not appropriate to publish the full report. This remains the position.