Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (224)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

224. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to instances in which professional visits have been recorded by members of staff in the Irish Prison Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51575/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

I have asked the Inspector of Prisons, Patricia Gilheaney, to carry out an investigation into recent allegations of surveillance and other wrongdoing in prisons to determine as far as possible the facts. 

It should be noted that section 31(7) of the Prisons Act 2007 provides that Governors, other prison officers and other persons employed in prisons shall, as far as reasonably practicable, comply with any request for information that the Inspector may make in the performance of her functions, which include the function of carrying out an investigation under subsection (2). In addition, the acting Director General of the Prison Service made clear that the Prison Service will co-operate fully with the investigation by the Inspector of Prisons.  The Inspector of Prisons will therefore have full access to relevant documentation and personnel in Prison Service Headquarters or elsewhere in the Prison Service in her investigation.

An Garda Síochána are also examining the allegations and I understand they will coordinate, if needed, with the Inspector in relation to her investigation.

The report of the Inspector of Prisons, when finalised, will provide a basis for consideration of what further steps may need to be taken.