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Officers injured as tensions rise at Joy

TWO Mountjoy prison officers were hospitalised after tackling a hysterical prisoner claiming his life was in danger.

The incident happened yesterday morning when a group of five officers were called to the toilets in the prison's D-wing to deal with a disruptive prisoner.

Two of the five prison officers were injured as they tried to subdue the prisoner who claimed another inmate informed him of a threat against his life.

The injured officers were taken to the Swiftcare Clinic at Dublin City University where they were treated for minor injuries.

Prison authorities have placed the inmate, who is in his 20s and from the Dublin area, on the prison's "protection" list and have moved him to the Segregation Unit.

"He was out of control and terrified, he kept saying someone was going to kill him," a source told the Herald.

"The officers were trying to calm him down but he was hysterical and two of them got hurt."

Tensions at Ireland's largest prison have been high in the past number of weeks with inmates and prison officers on edge.

Yesterday's incident comes just two weeks after a prison officer received 16 stitches after being slashed in the face by an inmate who was being held in a padded cell.

In the days following that incident, Mountjoy prison officers staged a walk-out after the transfer of one of the State's most violent prisoners, Leroy Dumbrell (24), back to Mountjoy from Castlerea.

In an attempt to quell tensions among officers the prison authorities installed an electronic palm scanner at the jail.

The installation of the palm scanner has freed up one officer, who has been allocated to the prison's controversial Separation Unit -- the source of the walkout.

Prison officers voted last week to ballot for industrial action over staffing levels within the Segregation Unit.

The dispute centred on the status of Dumbrell, who is serving an eight-year sentence for an unprovoked assault of an innocent man.

A planned drugs crackdown by new Mountjoy governor Ned Whelan has added fuel to the already growing tensions inside the State's largest prison.

As part of the new policy, nets have been installed at a cost of €200,000 over exercise yards to prevent drugs being thrown in from outside.