No treatment centre in Ireland for violent Cork teen

There is no mental health treatment centre here capable of caring for a teenage girl whose violent temper has resulted in 30 convictions for assault, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

There is no mental health treatment centre here capable of caring for a teenage girl whose violent temper has resulted in 30 convictions for assault, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court has heard.

Sarah Sinnott (aged 19) of Gerald Griffin Street, Blackpool, Cork, was born into an abusive home in the south of the country and has been in the care of the HSE since she was a baby.

She was remanded in custody pending sentence after she admitted headbutting one prison officer and kicking another in the face while in custody in the Dochas Centre.

Mr Brian Leahy BL, defending, said Sinnott committed her first assault in a foster home at the age of 11 and was placed in an adult psychiatric unit.

Judge Martin Nolan said she is now facing the possibility of a "long prison sentence” if a place cannot be found for her in a specialist treatment centre in Manchester, the only one of its kind in the UK and Ireland.

Sinnott pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Christina Dunne and assaulting Lynette Dowdall in the Dochas Centre on March 1, 2010.

Ms Dunne and Ms Dowdall were trying to restrain Sinnott and bring her to a padded cell or "time out room" when she headbutted Ms Dowdall and kicked Ms Dunne in the face.

As a result of the injury to her jaw Ms Dunne was out of work for three months.

Garda Keith Fox told Mr James Dwyer BL, prosecuting, that Sinnott was "lashing out at staff in any way she could" and "tried to bite staff".

Judge Nolan said that while there are "good psychiatric reasons" to explain why Sinnott cannot control her temper there was still a real danger that she would cause serious harm to a member of the public if he were to release her.

He said: "She is incapable of controlling her temper. I have no confidence that she won't assault somebody else if I release her on society".

Mr Leahy said that Sinnott suffered from a psychiatric disorder and when she is feeling low or angry she reacts violently

He said she requires very specific care which she has never received here over the last 10 years.

"The type of care she needs is so unique there is no place in Ireland and only one place in the UK," he said.

The HSE have agreed to pay for her to be assessed for the treatment centre in Manchester but the court heard that that there is no guarantee that her treatment will be paid for.

Mr Leahy told the court that Sinnott had a "very unfortunate history".

He said: "She has been dealing with psychiatric services since the age of 11. She grew up in an abusive household and was taken into foster care as a result.”

"She suffers from a behavioural disorder and has huge difficulty in forming attachments."

He added: "The prison officers like her. She's very good when she's good. She is a lovely girl but she is also a very difficult person to deal with."

Judge Nolan said there are only two options for her which either involved the HSE taking care of her or the Prison Service taking care of her.

He adjourned sentencing to later this month in order to wait for details of whether she could be admitted into the Adolescent Forensic Service in Bolton, Greater Manchester.

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