Lonergan: Drugs still a major problem in Irish prisons

Photo from IPRT

The amount of drugs coming into jails is ‘extremely concerning’, according to some prison chaplains.

Their 2019 annual reports have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.

Mountjoy Prison’s chaplaincy service says it’s almost impossible to avoid the temptation of drugs within the jail.

Chaplains in Wheatfield Prison in Dublin say prisoners arriving into jail clean can leave addicted – and some inmates refuse to go to the prison yard for fresh air, due to drug activity.

Former Mountjoy Prison governor – Tipperary man John Lonergan – says drugs have been a problem in jails for decades.

“It’s almost impossible to totally eliminate it unless you go for a very, very strict and rigid regime which would probably mean no visits, no contact, no nothing.”

“The problem that prisons have is trying to sustain a reasonable environment where you have an element of free association like in exercise or in workshops. The alternative to that is to lock people up 24 hours a day.”