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Prison officer quizzed over assault claims

A prison officer is being investigated by gardai and the Irish Prison Service over an allegation of assault made by an inmate.

The officer must now wait on the results of the garda investigation and an internal investigation by the Irish Prison Services.

The incident allegedly took place the weekend before last at a Dublin prison.

The circumstances surrounding the incident and the extent of injuries suffered by either party are not fully known at this stage.

Colleagues of the officer, who has more than 20 years' service, have voiced their protest at the the jail management's decision. They said the prisoner had to be constrained by a number of officers. He has already been dealt with through an internal disciplinary measure.

The assault is alleged to have taken place when the prisoner resisted being taken from his cell.

It is understood that a member of the prison management, upon viewing a CCTV tape of what happened, said the officer's actions were "inappropriate".

Violence in prisons was highlighted last month by the Prison Officers Association during their annual conference, with claims that there were nearly 950 assaults a year.

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service confirmed the officer was under investigation after an allegation of an incident over the weekend.

A Garda spokesman confirmed that a complaint had been made and they were investigating the circumstances surrounding it.

The allegations are being investigated by gardai based at Mountjoy Garda Station.

The director general of the Prison Service, Brian Purcell, said that there were 800 assaults by prisoners on other inmates last year and a further 150 assaults by prisoners on prison officers.

He said that the number of assaults should be seen in the context of the number of prisoners passing through the system every year.