| 13.1°C Dublin

Only two sniffer dogs to patrol all 14 of our prisons

ONLY two sniffer dogs are available daily to check all vehicles entering prisons throughout the country.

Prison officers said they need five times as many dogs to do their job properly.

The shortage was revealed by the Deputy General Secretary of the Prison Officer's Association (POA), Eugene Dennehy, during an address to the Annual Delegate Conference in Killarney.

He called for the number to be increased to 10 or 12 and stressed that the prison population was now a recognised market for the drug pushers and the major organised crime gangs.

He said that if the authorities were serious about stopping the flow of contraband into jails then they had to increase their efforts and engage a fully effective dog unit.

"Currently we have only two active dogs trained to search all vehicles entering our prisons on a daily basis," said Mr Dennehy.

Mr Dennehy pointed out that there were 14 prisons which had to be covered in the fight against contraband being smuggled inside and the drugs gangs knew that there was a huge gap in the system which had to be blocked.

"If we want to be serious about the fight against drugs we have to take this issue much more seriously," said the POA Deputy General Secretary.