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Blitz on prison smugglers sees 145 arrests in a year


Mountjoy Prison

Mountjoy Prison

Mountjoy Prison

A CLAMPDOWN on the smuggling of contraband into Irish prisons has seen 145 people arrested this year.

Irish Prison Service director general Michael Donnellan revealed the figure a day after a search of Mountjoy's C Wing lead to the discovery of mobile phones and more than 60 litres of home-made alcohol.

And he said he's confident that prison officers are not involved in supplying inmates with goods at jails around the country.

"Prison officers go through the exact same search procedures that a prisoner goes through and I think it is important that we maintain that high standard and publicly declare what we find in our prisons like we did in Mountjoy," Mr Donellan told Newstalk radio.

He added that there is zero tolerance for contraband making its way into prisons.

Mr Donnellan said he is concerned by the 14 mobile phones found in Mountjoy this week, but said their discovery is beneficial to the gardai.

"This is very worrying. Over the last number of years we have had a very sustained campaign at eradicating this kind of contraband from our prisons," he said.

However, he explained that the use of phone blockers in prisons to make mobiles useless was unrealistic because of its affects on emergency calls and nearby hospitals.

"There is no tolerance anymore of drugs and phones in our prisons. There always will be some because prisoners are ingenious at getting them in. All of these phones that were recovered, the majority of them were found in single cells and handed over to gardai," he added.

"Hopefully the information on the phones will help gardai in their fight against crime."