AGM Voices Concern About Irish Prison Conditions

The Celtic League has reiterated its concerns about overcrowding of women’s prisons in Ireland and a resolution to this effect was adopted at the League AGM, held on the Isle of Man, this weekend.

The League first made representations about the issue when it raised concerns about overcrowding in the women’s section of Limerick jail early in 2009. Assurances were received from the Ministers Office that the issue was being
addressed.

However, in April 2010 Kathleen Mahon, the highly regarded Governor of the Dóchas Women’s Prison situated in the Mountjoy complex resigned citing `impossible’ conditions’. She said the Women’s Prison was overcrowded with 137 prisoners in a centre designed to accommodate 85. In an interview with The Irish Times she said her position had been made “impossible” by the failure of the prison service to consult her on key issues and a general “lack of respect”
shown to her by the service. Ms McMahon warned that overcrowding was now so acute she feared an increase in self harm, bullying and violence.

The text of the resolution is set out below:

“This AGM: Bearing in mind concerns expressed by the Celtic League about overcrowding at female prison facilities in Ireland in July 2009 and aware of assurances given at that time by the Minister for Justice and Law Reform reiterates its concern about serious overcrowding of the Irish prison establishment generally and facilities for women in particular”.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

11/07/10

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