Covid-19 'lockdown' in big prison clarified by Irish Prison Service

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

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news@leinsterexpress.ie

prison

Covid-19 has been contained in Irish Prisons

No prisoner has tested positive for Covid-19 at one of the biggest jail in Dublin according to the Irish Prison Service (IPS).

An IPS spokesperson also said there had been no outbreak at the famous Mountjoy Prison.

The IPS was responding to a court report which said a trial has had to be suspended due to a suspected case at the jail.

While a small number of inmates have contracted the virus at jails in Limerick and Laois, the IPS insisted that restrictions imposed in the Dublin jail as confirmed in court by one of its staff do not mean a prisoner has become infected.

"There have been no confirmed prisoner cases of Covid-19 in Mountjoy Prison. The decision to confirm and/or release details of a positive test for Covid-19 among prison staff is a matter for the HSE," said the IPS.

The HSE does not release information on individual cases or confirm locations.

The service also said there was 'no outbreak' as reported. An outbreak is confirmed and defined when there are two or more cases of the virus.

The IPS comments were in response to a hearing at the Special Criminal Court during the trial of Trevor Byrne (40) of Cappagh Road, Finglas West, Dublin 11, who is accused of possessing a 9mm Luger-calibre semi-automatic weapon at Woodford Grove, Clondalkin, Dublin 22, on November 15 of last year.

The case was adjourned on Monday, November 9 when a prison officer this morning told the court that the "entire division of Mountjoy Prison, where Mr Byrne resides, is on lockdown".

Mr Justice Hunt adjourned all matters for a week, to Monday, November 16, for an update.

The Irish Prison Service had previously confirmed that six prisoners at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise had tested positive for the virus where an unspecified number of staff also contracted the disease.

One prisoner has tested positive in Limerick Prison.

The service believes it has contained the situation. No inmates had contracted the disease while serving a sentence prior to the outbreak at the Laois prison which accommodates more than 800 offenders.