Many of the estimated 900 Irish prisoners in UK jails suffer discrimination and endure lives of quiet desperation, it was claimed today [16 June].
The Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) said scores of inmates are verbally and physically abused and some are nicknamed ’Mick’ or ’Paddy’
Travellers are generally regarded as untrustworthy and unhygienic and regularly refused bail in courts, the The Oireachtas Sub-Committee on Human Rights heard today.
Fr Gerry McFlynn from the ICPO voluntary agency also said it can take up to five years for Irish prisoners to be repatriated from foreign jails in Central and South America compared to 18 months for UK citizens.
London-based Fr McFlynn said: “I think it is fair to say that the vast majority of Irish prisoners in custody in England and Wales live lives of quiet desperation.
“They find themselves in something of an alien environment and they are cut off from families and loved ones. There’s also a considerable amount of discrimination against Irish inmates, particularly Travellers.” (Ireland Online, 16 June)
Perhaps the worst example of what can happen is the spate of Irish deaths at Brixton Prison between 1999 and 2002, which I reported on for the Irish World.