Saturday 16 December 2017

'Jail staff are drinking, stealing and €130k has been spent buying 870 TVs for 250 prisoners'

Limerick Prison
Limerick Prison

An investigation is under way into allegations of "improper conduct" at Limerick Prison, the Irish Prison Service has confirmed, after a whistleblower's dossier was sent to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

The high level of spending on TVs at the Mulgrave Street jail is among a litany of allegations of theft, fraud and tax evasion at the prison.

It has been sent to Ms Fitzgerald, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), the Department of Public Expenditure and a number of other Government departments, to highlight certain employees alleged to have "defrauded the State".


The Irish Prison Service confirmed that it has "received allegations of improper conduct at Limerick Prison", which are now under investigation.

It also confirmed that more than €130,000 has been spent on providing 870 TVs in Limerick Prison over the past five years, for 250 prisoners between both male and female wings.

The whistleblower alleges that some staff are "committing theft, fraud and tax evasion on a daily basis, yet nothing is done to them".

His correspondence also details that some staff members in Limerick are "untouchables" within the system, who "come and go as they please to matches in Thomond Park, or the Gaelic Grounds, while they are still getting paid to be in work and nothing is being said to them".

The other allegations concern employees using prison vans for their own personal use outside of work hours, while using the prison fuel card and employees drinking in a public house during work hours.

"This whole country has seen what the gardai put Garda Maurice McCabe through when he stood up and bravely told the truth about what was happening in the guards, and the horrible treatment he has had to deal with since," the whistleblower wrote.

He said that, due to the smear campaign against Gda McCabe, he is not prepared to put his "wife or family in any position where they - and I - can be targeted by anybody in the Irish Prison Service.

"We are sick and tired of what is happening in Limerick Prison and we beg you for help," the whistleblower added.

PAC chairman, Fianna Fail TD Sean Fleming, said it had received correspondence on the case, which it forwarded to the Prison Service.

He said it is "very concerned" by the variety of allegations outlined in a five-page submission, which was printed on Irish Prison Service headed paper.

The Irish Prison Service confirmed that a total of €132,677 was spent on televisions between 2012 and 2016, with 870 TVs purchased in that period for Limerick Prison.

A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said the volume of purchases is higher in prisons than in other facilities within the public sector due to damage caused by inmates.

The Prison Service would not confirm whether there has been any update in another investigation of an alleged breach of social media policy by employees at Limerick Prison, saying it does not comment on individual investigations.

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