Pris­on­ers €500,000 in­ter­est free loans

»»Cons bor­row cash over 3yrs »»one got €300 to buy a dog

Irish Daily Mirror - - NEWS - BY DAR­RAGH MC DONAGH news@irish­mir­

PRIS­ON­ERS have been given a to­tal of €500,000 in in­ter­est-free loans over the past three years – in­clud­ing cash to buy a DOG.

They also bor­rowed money for games con­soles and stereos, as well as help­ing to cover the cost of com­mu­nions and con­fir­ma­tions for fam­ily mem­bers.

One fe­male pris­oner at the Dochas Cen­tre in Dublin used a €300 loan to buy a dog last year, while an in­mate at Lim­er­ick Prison had to bor­row €290 to pay back money owed to the jail’s tuck shop.

The in­ter­est-free loans from the Irish Prison Ser­vice are re­paid by de­duc­tions from pris­on­ers’ pocket money each week. In­mates re­ceive an al­lowance of up to €2.20 per day.

The Irish Prison Ser­vice said all loans are re­paid “in gen­eral”, al­though in­mates can walk away from the debt if they are re­leased ear­lier than planned.

A spokesman added: “The cri­te­ria for pro­vid­ing loans to a pris­oner are de­ter­mined by each gov­er­nor.

“Loans are given to pris­on­ers for nu­mer­ous rea­sons – for ex­am­ple, con­fir­ma­tions, com­mu­nions, fam­ily birthdays, for is­sue to fam­ily mem­bers, to pur­chase ra­dios, Playsta­tions, toi­letries, etc.

“Re­pay­ment plans are put in place based on a num­ber of cri­te­ria, such as re­lease dates, avail­able cash bal­ances, to en­sure they are re­paid prior to re­lease. In gen­eral, all loans are re­paid un­less a pris­oner is re­leased ear­lier.”

Records re­leased un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­vealed a to­tal of €498,708 was loaned to con­victed crim­i­nals over the past three years.

The big­gest lender of €139,880 was the Mid­lands Prison in Port­laoise, which houses no­to­ri­ous killers Gra­ham Dwyer, Mark Nash and Ger­ald Barry.

Loans in­clude €300 for an Xbox at Lim­er­ick Prison and €300 for a stereo at Mid­lands Prison.

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