In­hu­man con­di­tions in Port­laoise Prison

De­cem­ber 1984

Bray People - - NEWS -

CLAIMS that pris­on­ers are beaten and de­scrip­tions of strip searches in Port­laoise Prison were out­lined at a meet­ing in Bray.

Nicky Kelly, him­self only re­cently re­leased, gave a vivid ac­count to the meet­ing of the spe­cial sub-com­mit­tee of the Ir­ish Trans­port and Gen­eral Work­ers’ Union on Port­laoise Prison, which was set up ear­lier this year.

Mr Kelly told the meet­ing that the pris­on­ers were forcibly stripped.

He said that the most in­ti­mate parts of their bod­ies were probed, while pris­on­ers were beaten if they re­sisted this.

He ac­cused both the prison ad­min­is­tra­tors and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice of at­tempt­ing to break the morale of the pris­on­ers through a con­tin­ual cam­paign of ha­rass­ment.

He con­demned the vis­it­ing com­mit­tee, who were doc­tors and clergy, who re­fused to speak out.

Other speak­ers in­cluded Michael O’Muir­rithe, also re­cently re­leased from Port­laoise.

Marie Gav­i­gan spent six years in Ar­magh Jail and de­scribed con­di­tions there.

Mrs N McGro­gan, Bray, whose son Robert is a pris­oner in Port­laoise, echoed what the speak­ers had said about the vis­it­ing con­di­tions which she called in­hu­man.

The mother de­scribed the con­di­tions she is sub­jected to when vis­it­ing her son. A mock-up of a vis­it­ing cage was on dis­play. It was demon­strated how not only phys­i­cal con­tact be­tween hus­bands and wives or fa­thers and chil­dren was for­bid­den, but by the na­ture of the screen ex­tend­ing from floor to ceil­ing it was im­pos­si­ble for pris­oner and vis­i­tor even to see each other clearly.

The meet­ing con­cluded with a call for an end to strip search­ing and the in­tro­duc­tion of open vis­its.

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