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Saturday 21 April 2018

New measures aimed at tackling drug smuggling into prisons

Left, Limerick Prison, and right, Wheatfield Prison
Left, Limerick Prison, and right, Wheatfield Prison

Mark O’Regan

A RAFT of new measures are to be introduced in Irish prisons to tackle the smuggling and use of illicit drugs by inmates.

It follows the deaths of two men, both in their twenties, from suspected drug overdoses over Christmas.

They died over a three day period at Wheatfield and Limerick prisons.

Parents, friends and even children are being used to smuggle much of the illegal substances into the country’s jails, the Director of the Prison Service said.

The prevalence of drugs remains one of the main driver of crime in our prisons, he added.

They also seriously hamper the potential for prisoner rehabilitation.

As a result, a series of new security measures are being introduced.

These include more robust security screening, a new confidential phone line to report drug smuggling, and the establishment of new drug free therapeutic communities within the prison system. 

Michael Donnellan, Director General of the Irish Prison Service, says the level of drug abuse and drugs crime is unacceptable, and believes a new approach is needed to confront the problem head on.

“We’re developing a new strategy which will be published in May by the Minister,” a Prison Service spokesman told

“The Director General is highlighting drugs as being a serious issue for the Prison Service going forward from 2015 onwards.

“As part of our new strategy, we’re going to be implementing a number of new measures to try and combat drugs.”

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