Inhuman conditions in Portlaoise Prison
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.