I might clarify at the outset that the issues highlighted in the recent Garda report on the management of youth crime are best addressed to the Department of Justice and Equality, where I have responsibility for Youth Justice, as Minister of State. The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs has responsibility in relation to the Oberstown Children Detention Campus and Detention Policy, which do not feature in the report referred to. In this regard, I have not met with or plan to meet with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs.
As the Deputy is aware, the examination by the Policing Authority of Garda handling of Youth Crime has highlighted some issues of concern. It is completely unacceptable that crimes were not properly pursued in many cases. This situation must be thoroughly addressed; not only for the victims and the proper administration of justice, but also for the future welfare of children who may go on to commit further crimes.
The Garda authorities have taken a number of technical and organisational steps to prevent recurrence of the failures identified. While there have been significant improvements, there is more to be done to achieve a comprehensive solution. The Commissioner has also established a National Bureau for Child Diversion to improve future management of this whole area.
The Policing Authority, which was established to provide independent oversight of policing, has indicated that it will follow through with further detailed examination of this matter and the actions being taken by the Commissioner. I will also continue to monitor the situation closely.
The issues in question relate to youth crime cases deemed unsuitable for the Garda Diversion Programme. Therefore, it is important to recognise that there are no negative implications for the effectiveness of the Diversion Programme itself, which has been in operated successfully for many years, helping young offenders turn away from crime.