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Visiting restrictions will be eased further in Irish prisons, despite concerns about a growing number of Covid-19 cases. Shutterstock/Derick Hudson
Irish Prison Service

Visiting restrictions relaxed further for prisoners - except at Portlaoise and Midlands prisons

Limits on visiting were introduced at the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

THE IRISH PRISON Service is pushing on with plans for a loosening of visiting restrictions from today, despite concerns about a rising number of Covid-19 cases. 

From today, all prisoners will be able to receive one family visit every two weeks, which can be attended by one adult and one child. 

The first phase of the easing of visiting restrictions – introduced in response to the coronavirus pandemic – saw one adult visitor allowed into the prison from 20 July. 

All visiting was stopped at the start of the crisis, over fears of a significant outbreak of the virus among the prison population – many of whom would be deemed vulnerable. 

“Phase 2 is going ahead as planned,  It allows for one child under 18 per visit,” an Irish Prison Service spokesperson told TheJournal.ie. 

“All public health measures advised to IPS are being implemented in full in prisons where Phase 2 commences today. Families still retain the option of not visiting a prison, but conducting their visits through video calls,” the spokesperson said. 

The decision to commence Phase Two comes as concerns grow among health officials about a spike in Covid-19 cases across the country. On Saturday, 200 new cases were reported – the highest level since May. 

However, due to the localised restrictions in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, the relaxed visiting restrictions will not be applied to Portlaoise Prison and the Midlands Prison. 

Earlier this month, visits to these prisons were suspended as a response to the spike in cases in the three counties. 

The lifting of restrictions “commenced today other than in Portlaoise and Midlands Prisons in line with government travel restrictions”, the spokesperson said. 

The Irish Prison Service was hailed for keeping the virus out of prisons, with its efforts cited by the World Health Organization. 

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