A search of Portlaoise Prison last week, which uncovered almost 40 mobile phones hidden in the cells of the prison’s more subversive prisoners, has been described as “‘politically-motivated” and “vindictive” by one of the country’s Republican political parties.
What is described by the Irish Prison Service as “a major search” took place last Tuesday (August 12), in the prison’s E Block which is home to many of the country’s most dangerous dissident Republican prisoners.
A statement from the Prison Service confirmed that the search was “intelligence led” and was carried out by Prison staff and an “Operational Support Group”.
“Approximately 37 mobile phones and a number of modems and USB keys have been discovered. For operational and security reasons no further comment will be made at this stage,” the statement read.
In the wake of the discovery, believed to be an attempt to target dissident Republican groups, Republican party éirígí slammed the search as “‘politically-motivated” and “vindictive”, as all male Republican political prisoners are held in E wing.
“The timing of this search is highly suspicious, coming as it does as a number of prisoners are involved in court actions to have their remission increased from one quarter to one third,” said éirígí spokesperson Pádraic Mac Coitir.
“Were the raids today an attempt to catch some of these prisoners with contraband items, the possession of which can then be used to impose additional sentences, thus negating any increased remission?”
He accused the Government of “playing a very dangerous game in raiding Portlaoise”, following years of relative quiet between the prisoners and the prison authorities.