Northern Ireland news

Second prisoner dies at Maghaberry jail in Co Antrim in a fortnight

Maghaberry Prison, Co Antrim. Picture Mal McCann.

A MAN has become the second prisoner to die at Maghaberry jail in the last fortnight.

Barry Cavan from the New Lodge area of north Belfast is understood to have taken his own life at the high security prison in Co Antrim on Tuesday night.

The Northern Ireland Prison Service confirmed his death late on Tuesday.

The service said the Cavan's family had been informed and expressed its sympathies.

Police, the Prisoner Ombudsman and a coroner will now carry out investigations into the death.

Sinn Féin MLA Declan Kearney expressed his sympathies following the death.

"It is concerning to hear of the death of a prisoner in Maghaberry prison," he said.

"I extend my sympathies to the family and friends of this prisoner at this difficult time.

"It is important that the relevant authorities carry out a full and thorough investigation into this death.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie said the man "should have been cared for and safe within a prison".

He said the Prison Service was understaffed and underfunded.

"How many more prisoners have to lose their lives before our Executive realises there is an issue in our prisons and with our Prison Service that will not go away until decisive and strategic action is taken?" he said.

"Underinvestment in staff, an autocratic management style which does not listen to the concerns of the rank and file, as well as poor terms and conditions are leading to a service with low morale is low and poor staff retention."

He added: "Until such time as there is corporate responsibility from our Executive, we will continue to find ourselves passing our condolences on to families grieving the loss of loved ones within our prison regime."

The apparent suicide comes after 44-year-old Gerard Mulligan took his own life on November 5.

Mr Mulligan had been on remand charged with murdering his father, Gerald Mulligan, at his home on Limehurst Way in Lisburn on September 25.

Mr Mulligan's partner Michelle Logue has criticised mental health provision at the jail.

She said last week that although her partner had attempted to take his own life shortly after the murder and had been placed on suicide watch in jail, he was not seen by a psychiatrist for three weeks.

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