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Woman wrongly put in Mountjoy was told 'if you keep being dishonest I can keep you in longer’

Amy Daly spoke about her ordeal on radio.

The Dochas Centre in Mountjoy Prison.
The Dochas Centre in Mountjoy Prison.
Image: RollingNews.ie

A WOMAN WHO was wrongly placed in a cell in Mountjoy Prison in a case of mistaken identity has spoken about her ordeal.

Amy Daly spoke to RTÉ’s Today with Sean O’Rourke about being held in a cell in Tullamore Garda Station and then being transferred to the Dóchas Centre because gardaí believed she was someone else.

Two gardaí had called to her door in January 2015 and said there was a warrant out for her arrest after she failed to attend court in relation to a TV licence.

After telling them they must be wrong, she was told she would have to attend the garda station, which she did after arranging for a neighbour to mind her four-year-old son.

At the station, Daly repeatedly asked to see the warrant for her arrest before being placed in a cell.

I was asked my name and I gave my name Amy Daly. I was never asked for any ID, anything like that. And they told me I was there over a television licence. And I had my stamp book with me and I explained the inspector was there with me the night before.My belongings were taken from me. I asked to see the warrant again and the male garda said he’d get the warrant for me. But I was told I’d have to go into the cell, so I was processed and put in the cell in Tullamore Garda Station.

Daly explained that she has a history of anxiety and panic attacks and was becoming distressed after being placed in the cell for six hours.

She was also worried for her son because she had told her neighbour she would only be 15 minutes in the station as she was expecting to clear up the confusion.

“I never got to see the warrant. I asked for it several times when I was in the cell. I was afraid of panic attacks, I was just thinking about my son and when I’m going to get out of here. I was saying ‘nobody’s listening to me, you have the wrong person’. I was in the cell approximately six hours.”

When the guards came at around six o’clock and opened the cell I thought ‘thank god I’m getting to go home’ only to be told that I was being transferred to the Dóchas Centre in a garda van.


Source: RTÉ Radio 1/SoundCloud

On the way to the Dóchas Centre, Daly was able to call her mother using her own mobile phone and explain where her son was and that she was in somewhat of a situation. Her phone’s battery died before she could give her mother the details of what was happening.

When arriving in the Dóchas Centre at about 7 pm she was processed and put in a holding cell with two other women.

She explains that they also did not believe that a mistake had been made:

I was in front of two prison officers. I told them my name was Amy Daly and they said ‘look, you’re being very dishonest and giving a wrong name’. And I said ‘no my name is Amy Daly’ and they said ‘look, if you keep being dishonest I can keep you in longer’.

Daly says she convinced the prison officers to look at her bank card and it was then they saw a mistake had been made.

“I’ve been trying to tell you this all day and no one has been listening to me,” she said.

After being collected by her father, Daly returned to Tullamore Garda Station where the gardaí admitted that the warrant she had asked for numerous times to see had been lost.

Daly says that a High Court action taken after the incident was settled out of court but that she had never received an apology.

Read: ‘Prison is all about games. You have to play them right and you’ll get out the other side’ >

Read: ‘I’m the first face you see when you’re sent to Mountjoy. Prisoners can be scared and vulnerable’ >

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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