Press Release

Statement from Mary Hanafin TD, Minister for Children

Minister for Children, Mary Hanafin T.D. has today (15 April, 2002) outlined the places which are available for young people coming before the courts.

There are 465 places currently available for young offenders including 132 places for young offenders under 16 years. A capital development programme of €32.5m put in place by this Government is leading to an expansion of these places for the under 16s.

76 extra places are also available for children at risk who come before the courts and this is continuing to increase under the €38.01m capital investment programme. In 1996 only 17 such places were in place. The number of prison spaces in St Patrick´s Institution for Juvenile Offenders has increased by 47% in this Government´s term of office from 163 to 239 places.

Record funding of over €110m is being provided under the National Development Plan 2000-2006 for crime prevention directed towards young offenders.

Garda youth diversion projects which aim to divert young persons from becoming further involved in anti-social and/or criminal activity have increased from 12 to 64 projects during this Government´s term of office.

Since mid 1997 over €171.45 million additional revenue funding has been invested in the development of the child welfare services, family support and early intervention projects.

“The introduction of the Children Act, 2002 is the most significant piece of legislation in relation to juvenile justice since 1908 and major sections of this Act will commence next month”.

“It is also significant to note that the establishment of the National Children´s Office and the Special Residential Services Board ensures that there is now co-ordination between three Government Departments in dealing with children in trouble or at risk.” the Minister said.

“The increased capital and revenue investment, the introduction of anti-crime legislation and the introduction of the Children Act 2002 shows that this Government has done more in relation to young offenders and children at risk than any other Government previously” said the Minister.