December 6, 2019
Care must be given to vulnerable people in custody – Martin Kenny TD

Sinn Féin’s justice spokesman, Martin Kenny TD has said that the horrific situation of a brain-damaged, homeless man held in Mountjoy prison, on remand for more than a year, is not acceptable in any civilised society. 

Deputy Kenny said:

“We have to ask what was the Inspector of Prisons doing for the past year, while this man was held in jail, in dire condition, seemingly because there was nowhere else to put him and without basic care to his hygiene.

“This man’s situation was only brought to the attention of the Minister for Justice because of the diligence and care of his solicitor, Danica Kinnane, who wrote to the High Court to try to get him made a ward.

“Meanwhile, he was in the care of consultant psychiatrists, doctors, nurses and prison officers, while his toenails were uncut, his bed linen unchanged and was clearly in a very vulnerable state.

“This appalling case begs the question: what happens to those vulnerable people in our prison system who have no one to advocate for them. In this case it was a conscientious solicitor, but how many more such people are within the system, with no one prepared to make representation on their behalf.

“Care must be given to vulnerable people in custody. It is a basic concept.

“Where is our compassion? Where is our human decency that this set of circumstances could go unnoticed or unattended to for over a year?

“I await with interest the report ordered by the Minister for Justice from the Irish Prison Service and hope that it will result in such cases never happening again.”


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