Statement: Resignation of Inspector of Prisons Sounds Alarm on Independence and Powers of the Office

TD for Dublin South Central Patrick Costello was shocked by reports that the Inspector of Prisons Patricia Gilheaney has ended her contract early following the undermining of her office and its statutory duties by the Department of Justice, the Irish Prison Service, and the Prison Officers Association.

Responding to reports on Ms. Gilheaney’s resignation, Patrick Costello TD said: “the Government must address these alarming allegations against the Department of Justice and it’s agency tasked with managing prisons in Ireland. The Inspector of Prisons plays a vital role in upholding standards and delivering better outcomes for prisoners in the state”.

Deputy Costello continued: “The Government must take steps now to ensure the independent position of the Inspector is respected and the Inspector must now be resourced fully so it can fulfil its duties unimpeded and in a timely manner. To be able to operate independently the Government should review the Inspector of Prisons position within the Department of Justice and examine whether it’s powers are fit for purpose”.