Report on alleged tracking prison of officer cars with Minster Charlie Flanagan

Department of Justice confirms report into allegations is complete

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Email:

news@leinsterexpress.ie

prison

MInister Charlie Flanagan with Michael Donnellan, former Director General of the Irish Prison Service in the Midlands Prison last November.

The report of an inquiry into allegations that tracking devices were used on prison officers' private cars and conversations between solicitors and prisoners were monitored as part of a surveillance operation to crack down on drug smuggling into jail is complete.

The Department of Justice and Equaltiy confirmed that Laois TD and Minister Charlie Flanagan has received the report of the Inspector of Prisons, under section 31 of the Prisons Act 2007, into allegations of surveillance and other wrongdoing in the Irish Prison Service. 

"The Minister will now consider the report in accordance with the legal provisions and consult with the Attorney General in line with standard practice," said the statement.

The Minister appointed the Inspector of Prisons, Patricia Gilheaney, to carry out a preliminary investigation into the allegations to determine as far as possible the facts in November 2018.

He set up the inquiry after it was reported that the allegations are contained in a sworn statement to the Minister who has a large prison complex in his constituency in Portlaoise

While the location of the operation is not identified, the Irish Examiner reports that officers were unaware that their private cars were being tracked or that the prison vehicles they were driving were being monitored using such devices. 

It was claimed that some of the devices were in place over an extended period with information reportedly passed to the Gardaí. 

It was also claimed that devices were placed in the visiting area of a prison and were active when prisoners met solicitors.

Cameras were also allegedly installed to facilitate covert surveillance.

A private company was reported as having installed the devices. It was claimed that security personnel were given false identifications when entering prison.

The allegations were through a solicitor and not via the whistleblowers Protected Disclosures Act.