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TERROR AS YOUTHS GO ON THE RUN.

A call for an immediate increase in security measures at a detention centre for the country's worst young criminals has been made by local residents.

They say they live in fear following a spate of recent escapes.

All mobility and home-leave privileges have been suspended for a month at North Dublin's Oberstown and Trinity house complex on the orders of Minister of State for Education Austin Currie but Lusk Community Council say not enough is being done.

About 60 offenders are held in the three centres at the complex at a cost of pounds 74,000-a-year each. All are under 16.

The residents' call has been backed by local TD Trevor Sargent. He said: "There should be another detention centre in a different part of the country and not just a policy of lumping everyone together in this area."

Jackie Byrne, the Lusk Council Vice-Chairman, said that many of those being detained would be serving five or six years in prison if they were older.

Instead, they were living in a school environment with minimal security run by the Department of Education.

"This is really a prison. There are some extremely rough customers there and giving it school status is totally wrong."

Last month a 15-year-old escaped while on an outing in Drogheda and was later blamed by Tallaght people for a spate of joyriding that left cars wrecked and four Gardai injured.

Last weekend three youths escaped on trips out with staff. One remains at large.
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Author:Bushe, Andrew
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 13, 1997
Words:247
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