independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

Former prisons watchdog honoured

A former watchdog in Northern Ireland has been awarded an OBE for services to prisoners' welfare.

Pauline McCabe stepped down in May from her role as ombudsman investigating jail deaths and complaints from inmates.

Ms McCabe said: "I am delighted and honoured to receive an OBE."

She is a former member of the Policing Board and more recently became known for her forthright findings on problems within the prison service during her term as Ombudsman.

"I am grateful also for the wonderful opportunity those experiences have now given me to work in other countries supporting the efforts of those trying to implement criminal justice system reform," she said.

"It is certainly my experience that Meghan O'Sullivan is right when she says that Northern Ireland has much to share with those striving for peace in other places."

In May it emerged that a dozen prisoners had taken their own lives over the previous four years.

Ms McCabe has noted significant progress on improving the regime but added that no prisoner should be subjected to 23-hour lock-down.

Cases she investigated included the suicide of Frances McKeown at Hydebank Wood woman's jail in Belfast in 2011.

She suffered severe mental health problems for a number of years and had told prison staff and health workers she intended to kill herself.

The Ombudsman's report said Ms McKeown did not see a psychiatrist until more than six months after she went into the prison.

Others recognised in the honours include Laurent Beaudoin, chairman of the Bombardier aircraft manufacturer, which has a base in East Belfast, for services to British industry - particularly in Northern Ireland.

Mr Beaudoin was given the Order of St Michael and St George.

Bombardier produces parts for aircraft and has been providing a full range of maintenance support for more than 20 years in Belfast. It is one of the largest employers in the east of the city.

Others to be recognised include Trevor Haslett, chief executive of Northern Ireland Water, who was given a CBE for services to the water industry, and Professor Patrick Morrison, an expert in human genetics who was awarded the CBE for services to healthcare.

Press Association

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