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Tuesday 2 September 2014

7,000 jail phones seized since Dundon call to murder Roy Collins

Ken Foy

Published 17/07/2014 | 11:42

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Wayne Dundon
Wayne Dundon

Around 7,000 illegal mobile phones have been seized in Irish prisons since evil gangster Wayne Dundon made a call from jail ordering the murder of Roy Collins.

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An account of the call formed the main evidence against Dundon him at his trial.

Dundon (36) and his dangerous sidekick Nathan Killeen (24) have been jailed for life for the businessman's murder on April, 9, 2009.

It was Dundon's cousin, convicted killer Anthony' Noddy' McCarthy, who gave the crucial testimony that he overheard Dundon on the phone, ordering the gunman James Dillon to murder Mr Collins.

Now The Herald can reveal that 7,215 phones - a rate of almost four every day - were confiscated in prisons between 2009 and 2013.

However, the breakdown of the figures obtained from the Prison Service reveal that their major clamp-down on illegal mobile phones in our country's jails has enjoyed increasing success in recent years.

In 2009, the year that Dundon made that fateful phone call to Dillon - who was himself convicted of the murder of Mr Collins in 2010 - a total of 2,174 phones were seized.

However, as jail bosses continued their push against mobile phones in jails, it has become much more difficult to get the devices into prisons.

In 2010, 1,718 phones were confiscated. That number went down to 1,368 in 2011 and 1,150 in 2012.

Last year, figures show that just 805 phones were seized which is a massive reduction on the numbers siezed five years earlier.

A source told the Herald: "Of course there are still mobile phones in the country's prisons but it is less common to come across them compared to five years ago when Dundon and his cronies tried to rule the entire prison system with an iron fist."

Retired detective, Fianna Fail councillor Sean Lynch, last night called for a "complete clampdown" on mobile phones in jails.

Mr Lynch, who was part of the investigation into the Roy Collins murder, said: "Anyone who brings mobile phones into jails are just as guilty as the person who is directing the crime.

"They are just as guilty as the person who pulls the trigger. They are just as guilty as the person who drives the getaway car. They are acting in concert with the people."

A prison service spokesman said: "Since 2008, the Irish Prison Service has made extensive efforts to reduce the flow of contraband into prisons.

"A range of enhanced measures including the establishment of a dedicated group of staff, the Operational Support Group, was introduced in May 2008 with the aim of reducing the supply of contraband, including phones into our prisons.

"This also included the introduction of security screening area in all closed prisons, the introduction of a canine unit, increased searching of cells and the installation of nets over exercise yards."

There are 12 prisons in Ireland and gardai have secured a number of convictions in relation to the smuggling of phones into the country's jails.

In December 2009, prison officer Dillon O' Brien was jailed for four years for trafficking heroin and mobile phones into Mountjoy Prison.

In February, 2010, another prison officer, Thomas Corry, was handed a five-year sentence after he was caught with drugs and other contraband which included 31 mobile phones, 34 phone chargers and 22 sets of blue-tooth headsets.

He informed gardaí that mobile phones were the most desired contraband sought by prisoners.

The use of illegal mobile phones in our country's prison system became a national scandal when slain Finglas criminal John Daly called RTE's Liveline show from a mobile in Ireland's highest security prison in Portlaoise in 2007.

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