Over 1,200 Irish locked up in prisons abroad
Published 08/04/2016 | 02:30
More than 1,200 Irish people are in prisons abroad, according to new figures released to the Irish Independent.
It is estimated there are 1,255 Irish citizens locked-up in prisons across the world, with the majority serving sentences in the UK and Northern Ireland.
The Irish Independent has learned these figures show an increase in the number of Irish detained overseas in recent years.
However, the figure could be even higher as the exact data for the number of Irish citizens in prisons abroad do not exist.
The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO), which works on behalf of Irish prisoners detained abroad and their families, believe it is very hard to provide a definitive figure.
The organisation believes it is in contact with the "vast majority" of Irish citizens abroad, but warned that some may be incarcerated but do not know of ICPO or do not require assistance.
Currently, 41 Irish people are detained in the US and Canada; 29 in the Oceania region; 11 in Europe; 10 in Asia; and six in South and Central America. Just five people are in African prisons.
Chief Executive of the Irish Association for the Social Integration of Offenders (IASIO) Paddy Richardson said that Irish drug mule Michaella McCollum should not profit from the RTE interview or any other documentary.
Mr Richardson said McCollum, who served a prison sentence in Peru for smuggling drugs, and other criminals should not profit from illegal activities.
"Nobody should benefit whatsoever from crime. I believe there should be documentaries, interviews, stories, but nobody should be paid in any shape or form," said Mr Richardson
"That is absolutely unacceptable. What she did was wrong."
Mr Richardson also believes Michaella could have placed herself in danger with the interview.
"She is in a country which is known not to be soft on crime and certainly if she was associating with criminals her life could be very well in danger. It (Peru) is known for repressing people for what they say or do.
"We don't know what's going on in her mind at this time.
"It's wrong to judge her until she is back home in her own country and let's see what she has to say."