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Inspector of Prisons

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 26 April 2022

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

Questions (1288, 1289, 1314, 1315)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

1288. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice the rationale for not publishing a series of reports by the Inspector of Prisons regarding Dóchas; if the contents of the reports are being challenged and or disputed; and if so, if she will provide the nature of those challenges and or disputes. [20323/22]

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Patrick Costello

Question:

1289. Deputy Patrick Costello asked the Minister for Justice further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 609, 610 and 631 of 5 March 2022, the estimated timeframe for publishing the reports in question. [20355/22]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1314. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice the actions she plans to take arising from the three-day monitoring report and the section 31(2) on the Dóchas Centre to ensure the safe custody and that the highest international standards apply in relation to the women in custody there; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21209/22]

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Éamon Ó Cuív

Question:

1315. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice if arising out of the section 31(2) and three-day monitoring reports on the Dóchas Centre there are any staff disciplinary procedures in place or being considered; if any criminal investigations are ongoing based on the findings of the reports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21210/22]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 1288, 1289, 1314 and 1315 together.

The Office of the Inspector of Prisons was established under the Prisons Act 2007 and is independent in how it carries out its functions. The Inspector's key role is to carry out regular inspections of prisons. 

As explained in my recent answer to a Parliamentary question on 5 April, there are currently three reports submitted to me by the Inspector of Prisons which relate to Mountjoy Women’s Prison (Dóchas Centre) and which have not yet been published.

The Inspector of Prisons' three day monitoring report of the Dóchas Centre was received in my office in August 2020.  The Inspector was also asked to carry out an investigation into matters arising in the Dóchas Centre, under section 31(2) of the Prisons Act.   As the Deputy will be aware from previous responses, it was always my intention to consider both of these reports together.  

In relation to the section 31(2) investigation report, this was submitted to me by the Inspector on 15 February 2022 and it is currently being examined by my officials.  Based on legal advice received by my Department, it is not proposed to publish this report at this time, and in light of this, further comment by me on its findings would not be appropriate .

As previously indicated, the final set of the Covid thematic reports from the Inspector of Prisons, including the report related to Mountjoy Women’s (Dóchas Centre), have been submitted to my Department and will be published shortly.

Question No. 1289 answered with Question No. 1288.
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