Pubdate: Thu, 02 Nov 2000
Source: Irish Times, The (Ireland)
Copyright: 2000 The Irish Times
Contact:  11-15 D'Olier St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Fax: + 353 1 671 9407
Author: Kitty Holland


A number of children at a special school for young offenders have been 
repeatedly found under the influence of cannabis, the Department of 
Education has confirmed.

Staff at Trinity House special school in Lusk, Co Dublin, have found 
several residents "stoned" on cannabis on a number of occasions in the past 
month, a Department of Education spokesman said.

"The school has encountered the intermittent use of cannabis during the 
past few weeks but the problem has been addressed," he said. "All parents 
who have children at the school have been informed and the children that 
were involved in bringing the drugs into the school have been confronted. 
Their privileges have been taken away from them."

Trinity House is one of five schools in the State providing residential 
care, education and rehabilitation to children who have been committed 
there by the courts. The schools are run by the Department of Education and 
can accommodate children up to the age of 16. Trinity House is an all-boys 

One parent whose 14-year-old son was committed to Trinity House for car 
theft said he was not happy with the Department's assurances that there 
would be no more drugs in the school.

"It doesn't make me rest easy at all. I am very worried. At the end of the 
day, if Judge Kelly is sending kids to the school and the social workers 
are saying it's suitable, well it doesn't take a brain surgeon to work out 
that there's something wrong somewhere," he said.

It is understood that the gardai were not called in to investigate how the 
drugs were brought into the school, though it has been suggested that one 
or more of the boys was getting drugs while attending court.

Children convicted of offences can be committed to special schools for 
between one and four years. They may be held on remand only or remanded for 
assessment. Assessment periods, according to the Department, last from days 
to weeks.

There are 185 special school places in the State - 15 for girls and 170 for 
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