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Irish prisons could - possibly - be getting wi-fi

Alan Shatter says there’s no way that prisoners will be given open access to the internet – but they may be able to use it for educational resources.

IRISH PRISONS COULD be getting wireless internet, if a new trial goes to plan.

The Irish Prison Service is looking into the idea of introducing wi-fi across Ireland’s prisons which could be used in a limited way for providing educational resources for prisoners who are studying while they are behind bars.

The prison service is currently tendering for a company to do a trial to see if wi-fi can be used as an alternative to wire cabling. Many of Ireland’s prisons are very old – Mountjoy, which has the largest prison population in the State, was built more than 150 years ago – and have thick walls and old structures, which have proved difficult to adapt for modern times.

Prison bosses believe that using wi-fi could be cheaper and take up less time to install than physical cables.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that there is “no question” of wi-fi being used to give prisoners open access to the internet.

“This investigation will examine technical issues surrounding the use of wi-fi in a prison, including especially whether the signal could be restricted to meet the security requirements of the Irish Prison Service,” he said.

He emphasised that the study is a feasability one only at this stage, and no decision has yet been made on the future deployment of wi-fi in prisons.

Read: “There’s going to be riots” when St Patrick’s inmates move to new prison >

Read: Committee calls on government to reduce prisoner numbers by one-third >

Read: ‘Constant and unacceptable level of overcrowding’ at Cork prison >

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