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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 22 May, 2019
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Security systems installed in homes of Mountjoy prison officers following death threats

Gardai are taking the threats seriously.

SENIOR OFFICERS AT Mountjoy Prison have had CCTV and security systems set up in their homes after receiving death threats from gangland prisoners.

At least three officers at the Dublin prison have been told that there is a serious threat to their lives following confrontations with serious criminals.

Gardaí regularly conduct patrols outside prison officers’ homes to ensure their and their families’ safety.

President of the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), Stephen Delaney, said that those who made the threats would be considered serious players in Dublin’s crime scene.

“I am aware of three prison officers having equipment installed in their house arising from threats made by an offender, actual death threats,” Delaney said.

“Garda intelligence would be required by the Department of Justice and the gardai. We requested the full resources of the gardai to deal with these issues.”

Assistant General Secretary of the POA, Gabriel Keaveney, echoed Delaney’s statement and said that all threats are treated very seriously.

Security

He said: “They do a full security assessment. Where we are threatened and we feel it’s a serious threat, they do a full security assessment and then they will do an analysis and inform the prison service if they believe it’s actually real.”

Keaveney spoke of the increase in the number of threats made by prisoners since the Kinahan/Hutch feud began last year.

“In recent times in one of our prisons, a female officer was targeted,” he said. “Damage was done to her car. Her house was targeted on a number of occasions. It is not unusual for a prisoner to say to you: ‘I know where you live, I’ll burn your house down, I’ll get your kids.’”

Delegates at the POA annual conference in Galway also called for a number of changes to their working conditions. Drug abuse is a big issue in Irish prisons. On many occasions, officers have to breath in second hand smoke from drug users.

Jim Mitchell, Deputy General Secretary of the POA said their members work in an environment where others use drugs on an ongoing basis and there is concern that the passive effects can show up as a positive in a drug driving test.

“We passed a motion on this issue today at our conference to the effect that we want immediate discussions with the Irish Prison Service on this issue.

“Drug use is part and parcel of prison life for some prisoners, despite our best efforts to deny access at entry points through searches and the use of electronic systems. So in responding to the possibility of flawed drug driving tests on our members, we must face the reality of drug use in our prisons and take some action. The IPS have a responsibility in this and we expect they will enter meaningful discussions in the coming weeks”.

“We are particularly concerned that not alone are the established drugs being accessed by prisoners but also the new ‘novel psychoactive substances’ are also in use in our prisons.”

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