Dublin visitors to Portlaoise jails to be refused entry due to Covid-19 as physical visits resume

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

coronavirus covid-19

The Midlands Prison in Portlaoise is one of two jails in the town.

People living in Dublin will be refused entry to jails in Portlaoise while Dublin jails are also out of bounds for prisoner visits due to restrictions to stem the spread of Covid-19, according to the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

The service confirmed this week that it is about to restore of physical visits to jails in Portlaoise and elsewhere around Ireland. However, the new Covid-19 restrictions will that apply to the capital mean Dublin jails remain off-limits while prisoners outside the capital cannot be visited by people living in Dublin.

As planned, the IPS, has confirmed that it will be moving to Phase 3 of the restoration of physical visits from Monday, September 28.

"During this period a maximum of two visitors will be allowed. This can comprise of two adults or one adult and one child. This will be reviewed if warranted by Public Health advice.

"Restrictions relating to access for visitors from Dublin will remain in place. We appreciate your co-operation and understanding and look forward to the reintroduction of physical visits in our Dublin prisons as soon as it is deemed safe to do so," said a statement.

The Service confirmed last week that physical visits to all Dublin prisons were suspended, with effect from midnight September 18. This followed the Government announcement on the upgrading of Dublin to Level 3 under the Plan for Living
With Covid-19.

All physical visits were cancelled to be replaced by video visits. People living in Dublin also face restrictions.

"In addition, in line with the restrictions on movements from people living in Dublin under the Plan for Living with Covid-19 no person travelling from Dublin should visit any prison in the State while Dublin is at Level 3 or higher. Any person who has a visit booked and is coming from a Dublin address should not present for a visit at any prison as they will be refused
entry.

In addition, it will no longer be possible for prisoner property to be deposited in Dublin prisons while Dublin remains at Level 3 of the plan.

Dublin prisons include: Mountjoy Male Prison; Arbour Hill Prison; Cloverhill Prison; Mountjoy Female Prison and Wheatfield Prison.

Physical visits to prisons have been restricted since March when the country went into lockdown. There has been just one confirmed case of Covid-19 in the prison population but staff have tested positive.