Monday 18 December 2017

At last, a hardline governor in the Joy

We all know about the Dickensian conditions of Mountjoy, an overcrowded jail, rife with drugs. That's why I welcome the appointment of new governor Ned Whelan, who took over from long-serving John Lonergan.

A decent and humane man, Lonergan served for 22 years, but in my opinion was not tough enough.

This position requires a tough stance, and Whelan is like a new broom sweeping the place clean.

He intends to restore order, vowing to crush drugs culture. For his efforts, he has incurred the prisoners' wrath.


Some inmates didn't take kindly to the new netting over the exercise yard to prevent drugs being thrown in. Nor did they appreciate strict new visiting procedures.

Because of his hardline attitude, he has reportedly received death threats. And yet he soldiers on.

I think it's high time that Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern publicly showed his support by organising a visit to Mountjoy.

After all, the prison is a tinderbox that could ignite catastrophically. Lonergan, in his new book, says he never once got such a visit. What Ned Whelan now needs is a strong show of support and an assurance that his crusade is appreciated.

God knows we need a man of Whelan's calibre to ensure that the lunatics aren't allowed to run the asylum.

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