Cork city’s hostel for boys closes

An emergency hostel for homeless children in Cork City which was the subject of a recent damning report by the health watchdog has closed indefinitely.

Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, said the closure of Pathways, on Ballyhooley Rd, was on foot of a “management decision” and that the young people affected had been “accommodated elsewhere as appropriate to their needs”.

Staff who had worked in the hostel — 14.5 whole-time equivalents — have been “temporarily redeployed”, Tusla said.

Residents living close to the hostel had been unhappy with the behaviour of some of the 15 to 17-year-olds who resided there.

An inspection report by the Health Information and Quality Authority (Hiqa) published last December described how gardaí had to be summonsed on 95 occasions over a two-year period because staff were unable to control the teens’ behaviour.

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Hiqa said the hostel was narrow, cramped, and unsuitable and its layout was “an obstacle in itself to staff when trying to manage behaviour” which included substance misuse and criminal behaviour by some of the teens.

Fine Gael’s Dara Murphy said he understood the hostel would remain closed. The TD — who has had a series of meetings with Tusla, the gardaí, and Cork City Council in relation to Pathways — said the consensus was a “more suitable model of emergency residential accommodation for boys is required for the Cork area”.

Mr Murphy said all stakeholders were due to meet again shortly to advance this objective. “All stakeholders are acting in the best interests of the very vulnerable young people who find themselves homeless and in need of emergency accommodation,” he said.

Tusla said despite the redeployment of the Pathways staff, an “important criterion” was to “ensure that a cohort of staff are available to work with the young homeless persons”.

Tusla said that the effectiveness of the current operational model was under review and whether the hostel ever re-opened was consequent on the review’s findings.

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