Monday 22 July 2019

Government accused of 'not caring about prison officer safety'

John Downing

John Downing

THE Government were today accused of not backing expressions of concern for prison officer safety with real resources.

Fianna Fail justice spokesman, Niall Collins, told the Dail there was clear evidence that escaped prisoner, Derek Brockwell, was a dangerous man who required an armed garda escort while on hospital visits for medical treatment.

Mr Collins said it was clear requests for such an escort were not fulfilled because of scarce garda resources.

"The public fail to understand the statement yesterday by the Taoiseach that this had nothing to do with cutbacks," the Fianna Fail TD said.

Responding for the Government, Communications Minister, Alex White, said he could not give specific information on "garda operational matters."

But the Labour TD said this Government had reversed the ban on garda recruitment, enforced by Fianna Fail. He said 300 trainees were now in the Garda Training College in Templemore and a total of €10m had been provided for new equipment in 2014/15.

He accused Fianna Fail of trying to exploit an "unusual and unfortunate incident" and he sent the Government's best wishes to the two Portlaoise prison officers injured when Brockwell escaped from them at Tallaght Hospital on Tuesday.

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