Northern Ireland

Treatment of republican prisoner raised in Dáil

Taoiseach Simon Harris asked to raise concerns with justice minister

Concerns have been raised over the supply of newspapers and visits at Maghaberry Prison
Concerns have been raised about the treatment of a prisoner in Maghaberry Prison

Concerns have been raised in the Dáil about the treatment of a republican prisoner after authorities claimed he failed a body scan while returning from an urgent medical appointment.

Former Irish government minister Éamon Ó Cuív raised the case on Wednesday.

Mr Ó Cuív told Taoiseach Simon Harris that a full body scan was carried out on the unnamed prisoner as he left Maghaberry for a medical appointment and was clear.

He said the man was handcuffed to a prison officer at all times during a hospital visit.

“When he was returned to the prison another scan was carried out and they made the allegation that there was something in his stomach and he has been in isolation since,” Mr Ó Cuív said.

Mr Ó Cuív said “this is a source of serious aggravation in the prison” and similar “situations have arisen previously”.

He asked Mr Harris if he will raise the matter with justice minister Naomi Long.

Mr Harris said he would ask Irish justice minister Helen McEntee to “consider raising the matter in a way she feels appropriate”.

Republicans say that after failing the body scan the man was placed in the prison’s punishment block.

The Irish Republican Welfare Association said that as tensions have continued to rise prisoners held on the jail’s Roe House block have refuse to lock up at night.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service said it “does not comment on individual prisoners”.