To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress with regard to the development of the newly proposed national detention facility for children and teenagers at the Oberstown Campus; when it is expected that this facility will be operational.

In March 2008, the Government approved the development of new national children detention facilities on the Oberstown campus in Lusk, Co. Dublin. The Government decision was informed by the report of the Expert Group on Children Detention Schools, which is available on

The development will increase the accommodation capacity in the detention school system from 77 to 167 places. There are already 3 detention schools on the site and the effect of the proposed development will involve the demolition of some existing buildings on site, the retention of others but will consist mainly of newly constructed facilities.

The development will be carried out on a phased basis. The first phase, which is scheduled to be completed in 2012, will provide 80 places to accommodate 16-17 year old boys in order to remove this age group from St. Patrick’s Institution and to facilitate the transfer of boys from the existing Oberstown Boys School which is scheduled for demolition. The second phase, which is envisaged for completion in 2014, will entail the demolition of the existing Oberstown Boys School, and the long term unit of Oberstown Girls School, as well as a number of other buildings. This phase will also involve the construction of facilities for 57 young people. Some of the existing buildings, for example, Trinity House School will be retained providing a total of 167 places when both stages of the project are completed. While it is anticipated that this will supply adequate detention places to meet demands up to 2031, further assessment of the number of places required will be carried out before phase 1 is completed.

A Project Manager to oversee the development of the new facility was appointed from within the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform on 12th May. A notice inviting tenders from interested parties to provide a full team to design the new facilities was published on the 27th of June 2008 through the e – tenders website. This notice was also placed in the Official Journal of the European Union in line with EU procurement rules.

The closing date for receipt of tenders is Friday, the 8th of August 2008. It is anticipated, subject to thorough evaluation of the tenders received and the identification of a suitable company, to award the contract in the latter part of this year with a view to having the design process completed in the early part of 2009.

The design team will be required to advise on architectural, construction and engineering matters, to deliver high quality designs and to manage the construction of modern, state of the art facilities. The design team will include, but is not limited to, expertise in architecture, construction project management, planning, health and safety, fire safety, cost estimation and control, engineering and building services.

The project will be overseen by the Irish Youth Justice Service (IYJS), an executive office in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, which has responsibility for a wide range of youth justice matters including the children detention schools.

In preparing the Request for Tenders, the IYJS undertook an extensive consultation exercise with a wide range of key stakeholders. In particular, the IYJS consulted with the relevant non-governmental organisations and representatives of the staff of the schools. In addition, views were sought from the Department of Education and Science and the local VEC in relation to facilities for education and training. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child also informed the process. As children will be the primary users of the facilities, children currently detained in the existing detention schools and the 16-17 year old boys held in St. Patrick’s Institution were also asked for their views.

Having regard to commercial sensitivity issues, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is not in a position to indicate the projected indicative cost of the development. However, he can confirm that the cost involved will be met from National Development Plan/Exchequer sources.