A troubled youth, who was battling an alcohol problem, was found dead in his bed in a hostel at the weekend, a judge was told yesterday.
Solicitor Michelle Finan told the Dublin Children’s Court the cause of death has yet to be established. The youth, who had recently turned 18, had “passed away, he was found dead in a bed in a hostel”, she said.
Ms Finan had previously appealed to the HSE to provide a range of services to help the troubled teenager, who had a case pending for stealing alcohol.
Judge John O’Connor said he was very sorry to hear about what had happened to the youth, and offered condolences to his family.
The judge also noted the defence lawyer had done a lot of work to get assistance for the teenager.
At a previous sitting, the youth had admitted stealing alcohol and possessing 40 stolen bottles of beer.
Last month, he agreed to reside in emergency hostel accommodation and the HSE was asked to provide him with help when he appeared at Dublin Children’s Court, where he was described by Ms Finan as having four basic needs: “To shower, shave, a meal, and a bed.”
Ms Finan had also asked for the HSE to provide a “wrap-around package” of services to help the youth.
After getting hostel accommodation, the youth was concerned that, while he would have somewhere to sleep, he would have nowhere to go during the daytime. He needed the period of time ahead of reaching adulthood to “get some sort of stability”, Ms Finan had said earlier.
He had admitted stealing a box of beer worth €15 on April 4 and, in another incident in north Dublin that day, handling 40 stolen bottles of beer.
The youth’s offence had led to a fall-out with his mother who, nevertheless, continued to come to his court hearings, but was not present yesterday when the case and the news of his death was mentioned.
The court had heard that the teenager’s offending stemmed from alcohol abuse.
Judge O’Connor noted last month that social services had become involved and were about to set up a plan to help the teenager, who had been on bail.
In April, Judge O’Connor had praised gardaí, the boy’s lawyer, and the HSE for the manner in which they had worked with each other, adding that their co-operation was “very impressive”.
He said that, beforehand, “the situation was that he was homeless, and on the threshold of adulthood and very vulnerable”.
At a previous stage in the case, the judge had also said, while presiding in the Children’s Court, that he had limited powers in terms of what directions he could make to the HSE on welfare grounds.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved