Search icon


17th Jul 2023

Dublin judge shares ‘utmost’ concern of welfare of children in care

Ellen Fitzpatrick

A Dublin District Court judge has expressed his “utmost concern” over the welfare of some children in care in Ireland.

Writing to numerous Government ministers and other State agencies, the judge is concerned over the likelihood of future legal challenges as a result of “systemic” shortcomings.

According to the Child Law Project, Judge Dermot Simms sent a letter in May and it was accompanied by six reports. The letter was sent to four ministers, various State bodies, and an Oireachtas committee and called for coordinated action to solve the crisis.

The latest Child Law Project report from the courts regarding child protection orders consists of 67 reports and a letter from the judge.

In the letter, Judge Simms revealed that he had been told in court by Tusla of an “unprecedented crisis” that they face.

This has been caused by the lack of properly regulated suitable placements for foster care, residential placements, and special care.

It also has been caused by unfilled posts in the Child and Family Agency due to a shortage of qualified people.

He said there was a risk or indeed a likelihood that the State would now face claims in the future over its failure to comply adequately with its duty of care of the children.

Child Law Project CEO Dr. Maria Corbett said that the letter has been published to bring transparency to the proceedings of child care.

Corbett said: “We share the Judge’s concerns and echo his call for urgent action. Our reports illustrate that the lack of appropriate placements is having a detrimental effect on the care system.”