Geoffrey Shannon Audit on Garda Section 12 actions

Under section 12 of the Child Care Act 1991, gardaí may remove a child into a safe place if they believe there is an immediate and serious risk to his or her health or welfare. This power is separate from the power of social workers to apply to court to remove children. Following an inquiry by the Ombudsman into two cases in 2013 when Roma children with blond hair, in Tallaght, Co Dublin, and Athlone, Co Westmeath, were removed from their families by gardaí using these emergency powers, the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O’Sullivan in 2014, commissioned an audit on more than 5,400 removals of children recorded on the Pulse system, the Garda computerised records system, from 2008 to 2015. 

   The Audit was published on Monday 30th May, and it outlines numerous gaps in the system particularly in relation to cooperation between the gardai, Tusla and other agencies. In presenting the report, Geoffrey Shannon was particularly scathing on the role of alcohol in contributing to the conditions whereby it becomes necessary to use section 12, and was more generally critical of the role of alcohol in Irish society. The report is quite extensive so the Task Force decided to circulate a condensed version relating to drugs and alcohol. Using the search words "drugs" "substance" "alcohol" and "intoxi" we extracted a selection of pages, - with relevant keywords highlighted - which are now in a single pdf, and which are re-numbered 1-32. If you have not already read the report we suggest you at least read these extracts; it should take no more than 30 minutes. 

   The first two pages are the guidance given to Garda for section 12, while the remainder are the drug and alcohol extracts. The final page is highly relevant as it contain's Shannon's recommendation in relation to Drug and Alcohol Abuse. Some of this reading, as it relates to children, is very harrowing. The Task Force will be giving consideration soon to explore more deeply actions it can take arising from the hidden harms to children from the over-consumption of alcohol in society.

The 32 page extract is available as download

The full report is also available as download

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