Sunday 18 August 2019

We are not trained to deal with Isil, warn prison officers

'IPS director-general Caron McCaffrey has said that Irish prisons do not have the same issues as prisons across Europe when it comes to extremism.' Stock photo: PA
'IPS director-general Caron McCaffrey has said that Irish prisons do not have the same issues as prisons across Europe when it comes to extremism.' Stock photo: PA
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

Prison officers have expressed concern about handling Islamic State (Isil) radicals if they are ever convicted and imprisoned here.

The issue arose as Prison Officers' Association president Tony Power addressed delegates at its annual conference in Sligo this week.

He raised concerns that officers had not been trained in how to handle or treat prisoners involved with Isil.

"We have read recently of the possibility of some Irish citizens returning from involvement with IS and perhaps spending time in our prisons," said Mr Power.

"And if this happens, prison officers could be involved in a deradicalisation process.

"And are we trained to do this? No."

However, the Irish Prison Service (IPS) has played down concerns of prison officers that they could be involved in the deradicalisation of Isil fighters.

IPS director-general Caron McCaffrey has said that Irish prisons do not have the same issues as prisons across Europe when it comes to extremism.

She also said the IPS is monitoring the situation in Ireland and is prepared for any changes that may occur.

Mr Power was speaking following speculation that Irish woman Lisa Smith, who went to live in an Isil camp in Syria, wants to come home to Ireland with her two-year-old daughter.

The former member of the Defence Forces has denied fighting for Isil, but her request for assistance to come back to Ireland has sparked debate.

Irish Independent

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