Rattigan op normal practice, say prison chiefs
PRISON chiefs yesterday insisted it was normal practice to refer inmates with wounds to the face or neck to a plastic surgeon, after convicted killer Brian Rattigan received treatment for a scar on his lip.
Rattigan, who is serving a life sentence for the murder of a man 10 years ago, is understood to have seen a plastic surgeon last year at the taxpayer's expense for a medical issue linked with the injury.
The Irish Prison Service said that while prisoners had access to medics in jail, they could be referred to a public hospital if it was deemed appropriate.
"Where prisoners attend for hospital appointments, decisions regarding their clinical care is determined on the same basis as persons in the community accessing public health services," a statement said.
"With regard to wounds to the neck, face or lip, the Irish Prison Service understands that it is normal practice for general surgeons to refer such procedures to plastic surgeons as it is deemed to be a specialist area of practice."
The Health Service Executive said that decisions about treatment were based on the diagnosis of a consultant, and were not taken following a request from an inmate.
Rattigan (30), who was the leader of one of the gangs involved in the bloody Crumlin-Drimnagh feud, was jailed in 2009 for the murder of Declan Gavin, believed to be the first victim of the gang war.
He is serving the life sentence in the high-security Portlaoise Prison.
Gavin was stabbed to death at the Abrakebabra fast food outlet in Crumlin in August 2001.
The Prison Service said inmates had an entitlement to the same standard of healthcare as members of the public who held a medical card.