Archbishop Martin condemns treatment of female prisoners
ARCHBISHOP of Dublin Dr Diarmuid Martin has condemned prison authorities for forcing women prisoners to strip naked to be searched for drugs in the presence of male prison officers.
The Archbishop was speaking during his homily yesterday at the reopening of St Peter's Church in Little Bray, Co Wicklow, which was recently renovated following an extensive rebuilding programme.
Archbishop Martin stressed that more needs to be done to ensure the rights of prisoners are respected.
His comments follow a recent visiting committee report which highlighted a number of ongoing problems in the prison system.
"I cannot but express my own concern about the plight of prisoners in today's Ireland where our system has been the subject of consistent international criticism," he said.
The report highlights ongoing issues such as drug abuse, overcrowding and gang violence.
"The recent reports about events in our women's prison are worrying in themselves, but more worrying because the concerns of responsible citizens appointed in all our name to monitor standards in our prisons seem to be simply rejected offhand by the authorities.
"In a democratic system what goes on behind the walls of our prisons is a matter of public interest and must always be open to appropriate yet independent public scrutiny,'' he stressed.