Juvenile Crime: Motion (Resumed) [Private Members]

The following motion was moved by Deputy Jim O'Callaghan on Wednesday, 30 January 2019:
That Dáil Éireann:
notes that:
- a review of the Garda Youth Diversion Office (GYDO) recently carried out by An Garda Síochána has identified serious failings within the Garda Youth Diversion Programme (GYDP);
- the review examined 158,521 youth referrals, relating to 57,386 individual children, which were created on the Police Using Leading Systems Effectively (PULSE) system during the period 25th July, 2010 to 28th July, 2017;
- it was found that 7,894 of these referrals had not been appropriately progressed to a conclusion by An Garda Síochána;
- the review shows that the bulk of crimes not progressed were in the areas of public order, theft, traffic and criminal damage;
- 55 serious offences were identified as being not progressed, including rape, sexual assault and child neglect;
- many of the young offenders who were not progressed through the GYDP subsequently became involved in serious crime;
- the Garda Commissioner has described the failure to prosecute these youth offenders as a ‘humiliating professional failure’ for the force;
- this is the latest in a series of issues regarding Garda statistics that has damaged public confidence in An Garda Síochána;
- the Policing Authority said ‘So when there are no consequences for children who are unsuitable for the programme, it is inherently unfair on those who accepted their responsibilities. More seriously than that, however, is that without follow up, opportunities to help those children are missed. Children are failed and victims of crime are failed.’; and
- these findings are shocking, serious lessons have to be learnt and immediate actions need to be taken by the Minister for Justice and Equality, An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Children and Youth Affairs to prevent any further lack of follow-up on juvenile cases;
acknowledges that:
- successive reports have recommended that much more cooperation is needed between An Garda Síochána and Tusla;
- youth diversion programmes are proven to be very successful in reducing reoffending;
- the State has a responsibility to try to divert children from a path of crime should they commit offences at a young age;
- increased illegal drug use is causing greater challenges;
- 8,000 reported crimes by children should not occur without a targeted and strategic response from the State;
- 57 of the child offenders referred to have since died, indicating that many of those participating in this programme experienced chaotic lives; and
- most offences identified as not being acted upon are now time-barred on grounds of delay, and many others would be difficult to progress as they have been contaminated by the poor process to date; and
calls for:
- a review into the cause of cases which were not properly progressed, to examine if disciplinary procedures should take place;
- victims of the serious crimes, which were not appropriately progressed to a conclusion, to be informed;
- an anonymised report into the cause of cases and in particular repeated cases which were not properly progressed in order to identify specific failures within the GYPD;
- a stay to be placed on the decision of the Department of Justice and Equality to centralise the Juvenile Diversion Programme pending the findings of these reports;
- the Minister for Justice and Equality, in conjunction with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, to publish an action plan for the reorganisation of youth justice sections within both departments to ensure accountability lies with only one line Minister;
- a quarterly update for the Houses of the Oireachtas on the progress of all issues before the GYDO for a period of no less than three years;
- a significant strengthening of section 28 of the Children Act 2001, to prescribe a minimum standard of supervision for all children under the supervision of a Juvenile Liaison Officer;
- increased and sustained investment in the Juvenile Diversion Programme;
- the Government to promote an effective GYDP to ensure the provision of training for Youth Justice Workers on specific issues such as health and mental health; and
- greater levels of prevention and protection for the public and the children caught up in criminal activity.
Debate resumed on amendment No. 1:
To delete all words after "Dáil Éireann:" and substitute the following:
“notes that the Interim Report from the Garda Commissioner to the Policing Authority on the handling of youth crime cases during the period 25th July, 2010 to 28th July, 2017 has identified serious failings within An Garda Síochána, including failure to process the prosecution of almost 8,000 youth crimes and that:
- many of the young offenders who were not progressed continued to commit crime, and some went on to commit serious crimes;
- these included 55 serious offences including rape, sexual assault and child neglect;
- 57 of the child offenders since died, and that many of them lived chaotic lives;
- most offences identified as not being acted upon are now time-barred on grounds of delay, and others may be contaminated by the poor process to date;
- the Garda Commissioner has described the failure to prosecute these youth offenders as a 'humiliating professional failure' for the force;
- the Policing Authority said that 'when there are no consequences for children who are unsuitable for the programme opportunities to help those children are missed. Children are failed and victims of crime are failed.';
- there are implications for the quality of Garda case management and data systems and that there are other concerns regarding Garda statistics; and
- this, and previous reports referring systemic and cultural issues within An Garda Síochána have serious implications for public confidence in the force;
acknowledges that:
- successive reports have recommended better interagency working, including between An Garda Síochána and Tusla, to address the complex socio-economic issues (including increased illegal drug use) that often underlie the involvement of children in crime;
- youth diversion programmes are proven to be very successful in reducing reoffending;
- the State has a responsibility to try to divert children from a path of crime and the existing legislative framework for these actions is provided in Part IV of the Children Act 2001 (as amended);
- lessons must be learned and strong strategic measures put in place to prevent further lack of follow-up on juvenile cases and to improve the response of An Garda Síochána and all relevant Departments and agencies to youth crime, and the factors which give rise to it; and
- the report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI) provides a clear vision for a modern, highly professional, human-rights-based police service, focusing on a Garda organisation which works closely and collaboratively with communities and other agencies to keep communities safe and to prevent harm to vulnerable people; and
supports:
- the Government’s commitment to the four-year implementation plan, ‘A Policing Service for the Future’, to give effect to the report of the CoFPI, which will address many of the issues highlighted in relation to youth crime, including improvements to systems, training, supervision, accountability and interagency working;
- the strong endorsement by the Chair of the Policing Authority and the Garda Commissioner of the work of the Juvenile Diversion Programme;
- the continuing work of the Garda authorities to clarify all aspects of the issues relating to youth crime and take necessary actions to prevent recurrence;
- the sincere apology issued by the Garda Commissioner and the steps being taken by An Garda Síochána to inform victims as well as the young offenders whose behaviour went unchallenged;
- the clear statement by the Garda Commissioner that all potential failings by individual Gardaí will be investigated and assessed with respect to any relevant disciplinary action;
- the rigorous examination of these matters by the Policing Authority and their ongoing work, in accordance with their statutory remit, to achieve a full explanation of what happened, assurance that comprehensive remedial actions are taken and bring all appropriate information into the public domain;
- the Government’s commitment to funding and enhancing, as far as possible, the operation of Garda Youth Diversion Projects, including training and best practice support for Youth Justice Workers, in consultation with the community and expert stakeholders, to provide services which address the needs and circumstances of children in all parts of the country; and
- the Government’s initiative to develop a new Youth Justice Strategy, assisted by an expert Steering Group, to provide a framework for policy development including consideration of legislation, arrangements to promote interagency working and oversight of policy implementation, and the implications for the most effective alignment of Ministerial and State agency responsibilities.”
- (Minister of State at the Department of Finance, Deputy Patrick O'Donovan)

I must now deal with a postponed division relating to amendment No. 1 to the motion regarding juvenile crime. On Wednesday, 30 January 2019, on the question that the amendment to the motion be agreed to, a division was claimed and in accordance with Standing Order 70(2), that division must be taken now.

Amendment again put:
The Dáil divided: Tá, 47; Níl, 79; Staon, 0.

  • Bailey, Maria.
  • Brophy, Colm.
  • Bruton, Richard.
  • Byrne, Catherine.
  • Canney, Seán.
  • Cannon, Ciarán.
  • Carey, Joe.
  • Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.
  • Creed, Michael.
  • D'Arcy, Michael.
  • Daly, Jim.
  • Deasy, John.
  • Deering, Pat.
  • Doherty, Regina.
  • Donohoe, Paschal.
  • Doyle, Andrew.
  • Durkan, Bernard J.
  • English, Damien.
  • Farrell, Alan.
  • Fitzgerald, Frances.
  • Flanagan, Charles.
  • Halligan, John.
  • Heydon, Martin.
  • Humphreys, Heather.
  • Kyne, Seán.
  • Madigan, Josepha.
  • McEntee, Helen.
  • McGrath, Finian.
  • McHugh, Joe.
  • McLoughlin, Tony.
  • Mitchell O'Connor, Mary.
  • Moran, Kevin Boxer.
  • Murphy, Dara.
  • Murphy, Eoghan.
  • Naughten, Denis.
  • Naughton, Hildegarde.
  • Neville, Tom.
  • O'Connell, Kate.
  • O'Donovan, Patrick.
  • O'Dowd, Fergus.
  • Phelan, John Paul.
  • Ring, Michael.
  • Rock, Noel.
  • Ross, Shane.
  • Stanton, David.
  • Varadkar, Leo.
  • Zappone, Katherine.

Níl

  • Adams, Gerry.
  • Aylward, Bobby.
  • Barry, Mick.
  • Boyd Barrett, Richard.
  • Brady, John.
  • Brassil, John.
  • Breathnach, Declan.
  • Broughan, Thomas P.
  • Browne, James.
  • Buckley, Pat.
  • Burton, Joan.
  • Butler, Mary.
  • Byrne, Thomas.
  • Calleary, Dara.
  • Casey, Pat.
  • Cassells, Shane.
  • Chambers, Jack.
  • Chambers, Lisa.
  • Collins, Joan.
  • Collins, Michael.
  • Collins, Niall.
  • Connolly, Catherine.
  • Cowen, Barry.
  • Crowe, Seán.
  • Cullinane, David.
  • Curran, John.
  • Daly, Clare.
  • Dooley, Timmy.
  • Ellis, Dessie.
  • Ferris, Martin.
  • Fitzmaurice, Michael.
  • Fitzpatrick, Peter.
  • Fleming, Sean.
  • Harty, Michael.
  • Haughey, Seán.
  • Healy, Seamus.
  • Howlin, Brendan.
  • Kelly, Alan.
  • Kenny, Gino.
  • Kenny, Martin.
  • Lahart, John.
  • MacSharry, Marc.
  • Martin, Catherine.
  • McConalogue, Charlie.
  • McDonald, Mary Lou.
  • McGrath, Mattie.
  • McGrath, Michael.
  • McGuinness, John.
  • Mitchell, Denise.
  • Moynihan, Aindrias.
  • Munster, Imelda.
  • Murphy O'Mahony, Margaret.
  • Murphy, Catherine.
  • Murphy, Eugene.
  • Murphy, Paul.
  • Nolan, Carol.
  • O'Brien, Darragh.
  • O'Brien, Jonathan.
  • O'Callaghan, Jim.
  • O'Loughlin, Fiona.
  • O'Sullivan, Jan.
  • O'Sullivan, Maureen.
  • Ó Broin, Eoin.
  • Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
  • Ó Cuív, Éamon.
  • Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
  • Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
  • Penrose, Willie.
  • Quinlivan, Maurice.
  • Rabbitte, Anne.
  • Ryan, Brendan.
  • Ryan, Eamon.
  • Sherlock, Sean.
  • Shortall, Róisín.
  • Smith, Brendan.
  • Smyth, Niamh.
  • Stanley, Brian.
  • Troy, Robert.
  • Wallace, Mick.

Staon

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seán Kyne and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies John Brassil and John Lahart.
Amendment declared lost.
Question put and declared carried.