It all started last week when a prisoner phoned the Joe Duffy show on RTE to complain about conditions in Portlaoise prison. Nothing too strange there, until you realise the prisoner was on a mobile and they happened to be banned in prison.
A search was duly ordered and conducted. Among the contraband in the prison was a budgie which has been confiscated. They also found a total of 17 mobile phones, three SIM cards, 11 chargers and eight batteries, a large quantity of home-made alcohol, 150 tablets, including ecstasy and 30 syringes.
A garda investigation has been launched after the Prison Service made a complaint against John Daly, the inmate who rang RTÉ’s Liveline last week. Daly has since been transferred to Cork prison. It is a criminal offence to have a phone in prison, punishable by a sentence of up to five years. The contraband items were found hidden in landings and cells in toilet U-bends, beds and hollowed-out chairs. The IPS also says that new walk-through metal detectors and an X-ray scanner are being installed in Portlaoise prison and will be operational this week. These security systems will be installed in all the country’s closed prisons in the next few months.