1,884 items of contraband seized at Limerick Prison over past two years

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

FIGURES released by the Department of Justice and Defence show that almost 1,900 items of contraband were seized from inmates and visitors at Limerick Prison over the past two years.

FIGURES released by the Department of Justice and Defence show that almost 1,900 items of contraband were seized from inmates and visitors at Limerick Prison over the past two years.

The items seized included drugs, alcohol, mobile phones, improvised weapons and cash.

Minister Alan Shatter revealed the figures in response to a parliamentary question which was submitted by Deputy Jonathan O’Brien.

According to the figures 1,884 items were seized at the Mulgrave Street jail during 2010 and 2011.

More than 15,000 items of contraband were seized at prisons across the country with only Mountjoy having more seizures than Limerick.

The figures show that almost 400 weapons have been seized at Limerick Prison over the past three years.

122 weapons were seized last year which was 70 less than the previous year when 193 were seized.

The weapons included improvised devices such as pieces of perspex or shivs.

Reacting to the figures, Minister Shatter said efforts are continually being made by prison authorities to prevent the flow of contraband into prisons across the country.

Measures such as the installation of nets over exercise yards, more vigilant observation of prisoners, enhanced CCTV monitoring and random cell searches are all being carried out.

“Random searches of cells and their occupants and searching of correspondence and other items have all intercepted significant quantities of contraband in recent years. Nevertheless, the Irish Prison Service recognises that constant improvements are required in this area,” he said in his written reply.

Separately, Gardai are continuing their investigations into a hoax bomb threat at the weekend.

A phone call was received at Dundalk Garda Station at around 7pm on Sunday from a caller who claimed a bomb had been left outside Limerick Prison.

A large area was sealed off but nothing suspicious was found during searches.