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Mountjoy drug fears in sniffer dogs row

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Mountjoy Prison. Photo: Damien Eagers

Mountjoy Prison. Photo: Damien Eagers

Mountjoy Prison. Photo: Damien Eagers

PRISON officers fear that Mountjoy Prison could become over-run with drugs after its sniffer dogs were taken out of service.

Most of the dogs were stood down after it was alleged they were not detecting contraband, and now the prison has only around 20pc of its previous number of sniffer dogs.

"A lot of good work had been done in reducing the amount of drugs getting into the jail," said a prison source.

Searches

"But all that good work is being undone now because outsiders who smuggle drugs into the jail know that one of our key resources has been minimised.

"We're back to the days of physical searches, and people will find ways around that."

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) started using sniffer dogs in 2006 and noted a significant decrease in the level of contraband in prisons afterwards.

A legal row is looming over the supply of the dogs after the IPS terminated the €400,000 contract with current supplier, Daexgal Pro Team Dogs.

It is now reported to be considering issuing a new tender for the service, but Daexgal has issued High Court proceedings claiming breach of contract.

A spokesman for the prison service said it could not comment on security matters within the prisons, but a separate prison source said there were moves afoot to seek a new tender to supply dogs and train handlers.

Daexgal would not comment on the matter when approached by the Herald.

CFEEHAN@HERALD.IE


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