€548k bill for socks, jocks and dressing gowns for inmates
Prison bosses are to spend more than €500,000 of taxpayers' money to buy thousands of underpants, dressing gowns, tracksuits and other prison clothes for criminals.
The Herald can reveal that prison chiefs have agreed to spend €548,000 of taxpayers' cash on a contract to supply the country's 4,212 prisoners with clothing for the next three years.
The deal means some of the country's most violent criminals will be kitted out in briefs, socks, pyjamas and dressing gowns - all on the taxpayers' tab.
Criminals such as Graham Dwyer, who is locked up in Midlands Prison for the brutal murder of Elaine O'Hara, can rest assured they will have a clean supply of underwear.
Earlier this year the Irish Prison Service (IPS) invited businesses across the country to submit a proposal if they were interested in supplying prisoner clothing.
Although most of the country's inmates are not required to wear prison clothing, the prison service sought a number of items.
Over the next three years thousands of Y-front briefs and socks will be shipped to prisons around the country to ensure the country's criminals are clean, fresh and not stinking up cells.
Prisoners such as the infamous Dundon brothers (Wayne, John and Dessie), gang boss Brian Rattigan, wife killer Joe O'Reilly, notorious hitman Gary Campion, schoolgirl killer Ronnie Dunbar and the notorious Gerald Barry, who murdered Swiss student Manuela Riedo, can expect to receive green polo shirts and white vests. The fitness fanatics among the criminal population will also be catered for - with runners and tracksuits expected to come on stream over the next three years. After an intense and sweaty workout, prisoners will be delighted to slip into a pair of the pyjamas which are being ordered.
If they're seeking extra comfort whilst behind bars for their crimes, one of the 180 dressing gowns ordered should do the trick.
The massive order will cater for prisoners in all shapes and sizes, with briefs coming in a range of size small, all the way up to 3XL.
To ensure that prisoners are not feeling left out, the new supply of clothing will be spread out across our prisons.
Inmates in Mountjoy, Cloverhill, Portlaoise and Limerick prison can expect to see the clothing department stocked with new clothes.
The Dochas Centre, Arbour Hill and Shelton Abbey have also been chosen to receive new clothing.
The IPS told the Herald the contract was awarded for "required clothing".
"The contract has been awarded for three years therefore the IPS will go back to the market at the end of 2018," a spokesperson said.
Documents obtained also show there was stiff competition for the underpants deal - with three companies bidding to win the contract.
Bidders were also reminded that should they be successful in getting the contract, their workers maybe have to undergo "routine garda and prison service security clearance procedures" before being allowed into prisons.
A prison service spokesman said that prisoners are allowed to wear their own clothing subject to a number of conditions regarding "cleanliness, warmth and health".
"However, most prisoners are provided with prison issue clothing on committal and wear such clothing until such time as the Governor has granted permission for wearing own clothing," the spokesman added.