A CENTRE for troubled teenagers in Dublin – where residents have been blamed for assaults, fire-bombing a car, stoning buses and intimidation – could face closure following continuing pressure on authorities.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) has brought forward a review process on the centre by more than a year after a meeting with irate local representatives.
Grove Lodge in Portrane, north Dublin has proved controversial since its opening last January. The home has 10 beds for children aged between 10 and 17, and a residency there lasts for a maximum period of one month.
The HSE said Grove Lodge is surrounded by fencing and has both an intercom system and security cameras.
"The centre is an open unit as distinct from a detention centre. Most of the young people who are in voluntary care are free to go in and out," it said in a statement.
But the facility, which was exempt from planning permission as it had previously operated as a children's residential centre, has continued to cause concern.
"We have had a plethora of complaints on a regular basis, where there have been break-ins on local residents, people have been assaulted, cars have been burned out and people are being intimidated," said local councillor Gerry Maguire.
"They seem to act with impunity and nothing is done about it. The other night I saw them throwing streamers across the road to stop cars and I saw cars swerving severely. There could have been a very serious accident.
"On a few occasions, one or two of them have been arrested and brought to the garda station but they were let go half an hour afterwards. There is huge concern about this."
There have also been claims the teenagers recently petrol-bombed a car near a shopping centre and directed "threatening behaviour" towards elderly patients of the adjoining St Ita's psychiatric hospital.
In a statement, the HSE said: "We will be undertaking a review of the service in late September and we will be approaching the community council and the community gardaí to request that they contribute to this process."