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Prisoners take over D wing in drug fury

TROUBLE: Midlands Prison

OVER 150 inmates threatened to bring a prison to its knees during a two-hour stand-off with prison officers over drugs

The Midlands Prison was locked down as some of its most dangerous prisoners took over a whole wing.

The unrest is said to have been caused by a serious crackdown on drugs by the prison's Operational Support Group (OSG).

Drugs with a street value of over €30,000 were seized during Christmas week alone.

A source said: "The prison is more free of drugs than at any point in the last 20 years. It's at a point now where it can't get any more clean and it's beginning to cause trouble with the prisoners."

OSG officers in full body riot gear were ready to enter the D wing in the Midlands Prison at around 7pm on Wednesday of last week.

However, the prisoners decided to voluntarily return to their cells shortly before the guards were to enter the division.

The stand-off began after a woman suspected of carrying drugs into the prison during a visit was refused entry.

The inmate the woman was scheduled to visit, believed to be a high-profile Limerick gang member, became agitated when she was not allowed to see him.

Dozens of staff had to be called back from holidays early to deal with the situation. One of the prison governors entered into grievance discussions with two prisoner representatives and managed to bring the stand-off to an end.

hnews@herald.ie