TWO brothers serving life sentences for murder say they should not be kept in the segregation unit of Portlaoise Prison.
John and Desmond Dundon, and a third man Nathan Kileen (Kileen), who is serving a five year sentence, are seeking High Court declarations that holding them in the segregation unit in close or solitary confinement, without providing reasons, amounts to a breach of their constitutional rights.
John Dundon (29) from Hyde Park, Limerick is serving a life sentence after he was last August jailed for the murder of rugby player Shane Geoghegan at Dorradoyle in 2008 in a case of mistaken identity.
His brother Desmond is serving a life sentence for the murder of rival crime boss Kieran Keane in Jan 2002.
Nathan Kileen (22) also from Limerick is serving a five-year sentence for violent disorder.
The trio also want a declaration that the application of an indeterminate period of solitary confinement to a prisoner is unlawful and unconstitutional.
In an affidavit, John Dundon's solicitor Joseph Coonan said the fact that his client is detained in Portlaoise has created and continues to
stoke tensions with a rival family in Limerick. Dundon believes
members of a rival gang work in the prison kitchen and are trying to poison him by interfering with his food, Mr Coonan said.
The three are detained in "the Block" which is a segregation unit and the regime there is extremely austere and involves the complete isolation of the prisoner from the rest of the prison population and the denial of recreation and education facilities.
The daily regime involves a 23 hour lock up where prisoners are confined to a cell ten feet by six feet.
John Dundon sleeps two feet from from an open toilet without a lid and, the solicitor said, Dundon described how the smell of sewerage from the toilet permeates the cell and is noxious to the senses. There is a tap for water but Dundon says the colour of the water is brown and not drinkable.
For one hour a day John Dundon is allowed to walk around a small yard with his brother Desmond and another inmate Nathan Kileen.
Mr Coonan said Dundon is finding 23 hour lock up extremely difficult and described his situation as "insufferable". He has also told how he suffers from memory loss , bouts of confusion and he is depressed.
Dundon has said he has suffered anxiety attacks, paranoia and the isolation has resulted in him becoming extremely nervous and awkward around other people including his brother.
The solicitor said Mr Dundon reported sleep interruption and fatigue and that he feels he is being subjected to psychological torture and at times he feels suicidal.
Mr Coonan said Dundon's mental and physical health is deteriorating rapidly and he refused food in protest at his conditions and because of he believes there would be an attempt to poison him.
He refused food on September 4 2013 and since September 19 last has been on a diet of milk alone and has lost a considerable amount of weight.
Desmond Dundon, it is claimed, is experiencing significant physical and psychological effects arising from the lock up regime including depression, paranoia , suicidal ideation and hyper sensitivity to to stimuli.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton granted the men's lawyers leave seek judicial review and the case comes back again tomorrow (Friday).