10 Aug 2022

Handcuffs and bomb detection bought in secrecy by prison service

Handcuffs and bomb detection bought in secrecy by prison service

Secrecy shrouds purchase of handcuffs by prison service.

Money spent by the Irish Prison Service on handcuffs and bomb detection does not have to go through normal open contract rules.

The Irish Prison Service was quizzed by Deputy Alan Farrell on the spending at a recent Dáil Public Accouts committee meeting. He said there were five urgent purchases for €0.5 million that were not compliant with procurement rules.

Caron McCaffrey replied: “Of the five cases, which total €498,000, three related to security equipment we were not in a position to go to the market to tender on. That comprised handcuffs, an explosive detection system and the installation of security netting at a prison to combat a particular issue we have with drugs being thrown over the walls,” she said.

Deputy Farrell was puzzled about how cuffs and nets would be restricted, but Ms McCaffrey declined to give further information for security reasons.

€7m prison computer bill due to CCTV storage

The Irish Prison Service appears to have to spent millions of euro extra as part of the upgrade of its prison CCTV system.

Galway TD Catherine Connolly said the estimate was over €4 million and the outturn was over €7 million. The Prison Service gives the reason for that as additional storage space.

In reply Ms Caron McCaffrey, Director General said there has been a change from outdated systems to high-definition CCTV.

“The physical IT storage space to store that footage has increased and we have had to invest significant moneys to purchase additional storage to ensure all the CCTV footage that is captured and saved as part of an incident is then available for any criminal or Inspector of Prisons investigation,” she said.

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