Closure of St. Patrick’s Institution Ends Major Children's Rights Blot

Published date: 
7 Apr 2017


Closure of St. Patrick’s Institution Ends Major Children’s Rights Blot

The Children’s Rights Alliance warmly welcomes the announcement of the closure of St. Patrick’s Institution by the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD. St. Patrick’s is an adult prison that up-to-now has housed children. This practice has resulted in years of scathing criticism from children’s rights, human rights and penal reform organisations, both nationally and internationally. Following this closure, all 17 year olds will be committed by the Courts to the Children’s Detention Centre at Oberstown, rather than to St. Patrick’s Institution. 

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance: “Locking and throwing away the key to St Patrick’s is a momentous achievement for children’s rights advocates who have been working towards this closure for decades. Ireland can now hold its head up high in the international arena and say we are a country that does not incarcerate children behind adult bars.

Let’s not stop now – Ireland can be trailblazing in how it deals with children in detention. Now more than ever, every effort must be made to ensure that the Children Detention Centre embeds children’s rights principles into all elements of its operation and regime.

We commend both the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr. Katherine Zappone TD and the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD for their commitment to making this vital change to close St. Patrick’s. This closure should rank among their greatest achievements during their terms of office.”


For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067

Note for Editors
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview.
• Relevant articles within the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child: Article 3, the best interests of the child; Article 37, to ensure that children detained by the State shall be separated from adults; and Article 40, the right of every child who has infringed penal law to be treated in a manner consistent with the promotion of a child’s sense of dignity and worth, thereby promoting the child’s reintegration into society.