20 May 2022

Covid-19 outbreaks at both of Portlaoise's jails

Staff and prisoners infected


Portlaoise Prison is part of Ireland's biggest jail complex where slopping out continues

Covid-19 has made its way back into prisons around Ireland with the two jails in Portlaoise both managing outbreaks.

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has confirmed that it is managing four active outbreaks of Covid-19 in Wheatfield, Mountjoy in Dublin and the Midlands and Portlaoise Prisons in Laois.

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm, a number of staff and prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19 in Mountjoy, Midlands and Portlaoise Prisons," said a statement. 

The IPS said total of seven prisoners from C Division in Portlaoise Prison have tested positive for Covid-19. It added that an Outbreak Control Team has been established and the C Division is operating on a restricted regime until mass testing of staff and prisoners is complete. There are 215 prisoners behind bars in the high security jail.

The Service confirmed that one prisoner from G Division in Midlands Prison has tested positive for Covid-19. An Outbreak Control Team has also been established and the G Division is operating on a restricted regime until mass testing of staff and prisoners is complete. A total of 813 inmates were in jail at the prison on December 30.

There are also problems in Dublin where there outbreaks are bigger.

A total of 22 prisoners from C & D Divisions in Mountjoy Prison have tested positive for Covid-19. Outbreak Control Team is operating and a restricted regime is in place to facilitate mass testing.

Given the high rate of staff positives detected in Wheatfield prison, Public Health has agreed with the Outbreak Control Team to carry out a third round of staff testing. To date, there are currently no positive prisoners in Wheatfield Prison and both physical/video visits remain in operation under strict infection control measures. 

Both video and physical visits remain in operation for all prisons across the estate. However, where there is an active outbreak of Covid-19, a restricted regime is implemented until mass testing is complete.

The IPS say Outbreak Control Teams and prison management have implemented additional infection control measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 to the wider prison population in Wheatfield, Mountjoy, Midlands and Portlaoise .

The Service says it is working closely with Public Health, HSE with regard to the management of the current outbreaks including the testing arrangements of staff and prisoners if required.

A statement concluded that at all points, Outbreak Control Teams (OCT) are guided by advice from local Public Health clinicians and meetings with Public Health are convened at regular intervals throughout the course of each outbreak.


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