Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice, Niall Collins TD has said that the latest riot in Cloverhill Prison is a symptom of the growing crisis in our prison system. Yesterday, statistics from the Irish Prison Service showed that most Irish Prisons were over capacity or had a large number of prisoners on temporary release to ease capacity issued.

Deputy Collins stated: “The incident in Cloverhill Prison yesterday is yet another sign that our prison system is in crisis. One need only look at the prison capacity statistics to show the pressure our prisons are currently under. Firstly, on Wednesday, 29th of July 494 prisoners were on temporary release in order to ease capacity issues across the prison network. Yet, despite this, two of the country’s largest prisons, Cork and Limerick, were still dangerously over capacity at 110% and 107% respectively.”

“In Mountjoy, the percentage of bed capacity in use is just under 100% because 150 prisoners have been let out on temporary release. Cork is in an even worse position. Despite over 119 prisoners being on temporary release the prison is still the most overcrowded in the system. Limerick is also in crisis with 315 prisoners allocated to that prison but only 248 beds for those prisoners.”

“The Prison Service has lost over 100 staff since 2011 and their budget has been cut by €20 million in the same period. I am concerned that the Service has now been cut to the bone resulting in an increasing number of episodes like what we saw yesterday in Clover Hill. The Minister must address the huge problems of prison capacity before another incident like this occurs again.”