Friday 15 November 2019

Ming describes 'terrifying' stint in prison

Patricia McDonagh

INDEPENDENT TD Luke 'Ming' Flanagan yesterday told how his first night in prison was the most "terrifying experience" of his life.

Mr Flanagan, who spent a short time in prison for non-payment of fines, said he was terrified and lonely when he was brought in to prison for the first time. The TD made the comments during a Dail debate on the Criminal Justice (Community Service) Bill.

He served nine days of a 15-day sentence in 1998 in Loughan House open prison, in Co Cavan, for refusing to pay a fine imposed for breach of the Litter Pollution Act.

Mr Flanagan insisted that one night in prison would stop offenders from engaging in criminal activities again.

"I spent a short time in Castlerea Prison, but I was also moved to Loughan House where I met many young people who, at great cost to the State, were sitting around and discussing with people who they had never met previously what they were going to do when they got out," he said.

"Invariably, they discussed how to get together and do a better job of robbing some place.

"But the most terrifying experience I ever had in my life was that feeling you got when you were brought in to prison for the first time. I was terrified.

"I think putting somebody in prison for a night would make them think twice, as it is a very lonely place. I was put in a remand cell on my own and could only listen to country music on local radio.

"In that situation, you are pounding around the cell, asking why you are here and it really makes you think."

Irish Independent

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