15 Aug 2022

Officer injured during Portlaoise prisoner brawl at Christmas day mass

Midlands Prison Portlaoise.

Midlands Prison Portlaoise.

A 'mass brawl' reportedly broke out in Midlands Prison during Christmas Day Mass.

The row was reported by national media to be between two rival gangs in the prison, while a priest was saying Mass.

The Irish Daily Star reported that “two dangerous prison gangs - one of which is led by infamous tiger kidnapper Thomas Flynn - engaged in a mass brawl as a priest was in the middle of the annual Christmas day ceremony in the Midlands Prison chapel.”

A prison officer was injured, and had to be taken to Portlaoise hospital A&E for treatment to his arm. It is understood the officer had soft tissue injuries but will make a full recovery.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service also confirmed to online newspaper that the matter was dealt with quickly by professional staff.

“There was an incident that occurred in the Midlands Prison on Christmas Day and staff intervened very quickly and brought it under swift control,” the spokesperson said.

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“The matter is now being dealt with by the governor under the disciplinary code,” he said.

A source told the Irish Daily Star that tensions were high between the rival gangs beforehand.

“It got out of hand very fast but the officers were straight in and did their best to break it up,” the source said.

Flynn (23), originally of Moatview Avenue, Coolock, Dublin 17, is serving a 12-year sentence with three suspended for his role in a tiger kidnapping case in 2013.

Midlands Prison has 833 medium security male prisoners. The older Portlaoise Prison next door is a high security unit with 231 prisoners.

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