Children’s Minister will not attend youth court

A spokesperson for the Minister for Children says Frances Fitzgerald will not attend the Children's Court today to explain the lack of custodial places for children.

Last week Judge Ann Ryan called on Minister Fitzgerald - or someone from her office - to attend the court when it emerged that there was no place to detain a teenager facing a string of charges including heroin dealing.

She said Minister Fitzgerald had assured her matters would be dealt with but it has now been going on for over 2 months.

Minister Fitzgerald is sending a representative from her office to court today.

Child Law Specialist with Gallagher-Shatter Solicitors is Catherine Ghent. She says the Minister needs to give the following reassurances to Judge Ryan.

"Where detention beds are needed they will be provided - and we don't have children outer on the streets who shouldn't be out on the streets" she said.

"Or we don't have situations where judges start reverting to what they used to do, which is either make an other demanding them to stay in Garda stations - which'd be utterly inappropriate - or else making orders detaining them in institutions and expecting the State to fulfil them".

"That'd just set everybody back 15, 20 years" she added.