Speaking at the POA annual delegate conference in Co Clare last night, Stephen Delaney, President of the POA said, “The POA is now calling for mandatory consecutive sentencing for those prisoners who assault or injure Prison Officers while in the performance of their duties. Six Stabbings in Six weeks, as has happened recently, is simply not acceptable and the Minister for Justice has a responsibility to take some decisive action as a matter of urgency”
Delaney went on to say, “In February this year we had the vicious assault on two of our colleagues, who were seriously injured by a dangerous prisoner from Portlaoise Prison. This prisoner, who was known to pose a serious threat, then escaped from Tallaght Hospital. We also had a number of Officers stabbed in the Midlands Prison as they tried to intervene and quell a disturbance. More recently in Mountjoy Prison, at 8.15am, three Officers were viciously attacked by a prisoner using a shiv – and two of the Officers sustained serious injuries to the head and face”.
“The Irish Prison Service hierarchy and prison management need a reality check. Physical violence against Prison Officers continues to rise. Today our Prisons are the most dangerous places of work in this country and we remain to be convinced that management at any level is grasping the seriousness of this situation”.
“Delaney said, “We all knew the risks when we signed on the dotted line, however, we also thought that when there were legitimate and well founded security based requests for Garda support that we would be supported. We also thought that violent, disruptive and mentally challenged Prisoners would be treated; accordingly ensuring our safety as best as possible. We have a legitimate right to have proper systems in place to protect ourselves against such individuals in each institution”
Delaney concluded by saying, “Do we need the the murder of a prison officer on our hands before there is a constructive and effective response to staff safety. The officers and their families have a legitimate right to expect that all possible will be done to ensure staff safety. Recent events clearly show that this is not the case”