It’s Rare, But The Possibility Of Murder Is A Daily Threat In Our Prisons

Thankfully, unlawful deaths are rare in the Irish prison system, but murder is a possibility every day in our prisons.

Any incident is prevented by an intelligence system carefully managed by the Prison Service, who deal with threats on a daily basis – often through their own elaborate investigative networks within prisons.

Just two days before his fatal attack, Robert O’Connor was the victim of a vicious attack and was taken to the opposite end of Mountjoy Prison for his own safety.

But the 34-year-old told prison supervisors he didn’t believe he was in danger from anyone else.

He was wrong – and last night prison sources said they also had no intelligence that he was at risk of another attack after being transferred.

Sources say that the prison owners believe that O’Connor’s assailants did not intend to kill him, but it is now up to the Garda murder investigation to determine.

There are more than 500 prisoners in what is deemed a “restricted regime” for security reasons, and it involves them being held in a cell for more than 19 hours a day.

It doesn’t matter if I get a life sentence

Figures for April showed that 575 prisoners were in this type of protective custody – and of these, 563 requested protective measures.

But not O’Connor, who did not believe he was in danger when he was interviewed by prison officials after being attacked initially last week. He didn’t want to go into the security system.

He is the first person to be killed by unlawful assault in our prison system since a murder at Cork Prison in May 2015.

In that case, Brian Weil, a Waterford man, killed a fellow prisoner after an argument over switching television channels.

During the trial, the court heard evidence that Weil stabbed Graham Johnson’s heart with a carving knife and told a witness with a smile: “If I get a life sentence, it doesn’t matter.”

This was the first illegal murder in our prisons gary douche In August 2006, Mountjoy was beaten to death in prison.

Deutsch’s killer was later convicted of murder with little responsibility.

close

Robert O’Connor, who was killed after the attack at Mountjoy Prison

When Egan beat Douch to death, the two men were in a holding cell with six other prisoners.

In January 2004, with an address in Shankill, South Dublin, Stephen Wall stabbed Alan Green to death at the Mountjoy Prison at Bray Se Co Wicklow, and was later convicted of murder.

These fatalities are rare, but our prisons remain a tinderbox – with more than 4,030 inmates in Ireland’s prisons this week, the system is at over 96 pc of capacity.

We need about 600 more places in prisons

Last April, Tony Power, president of the Prison Officers Association (POA), said overcrowding increases tensions and incidents of violence.

“We need 600 more places in prisons,” he said then.

“We have around 4,200. We need around 4,800 or 5,000.

“As prisons are now being reopened, prisoner-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-staff violence levels have increased – and there were incidents last week in Mountjoy where some staff were injured,” he said. Time warned.

It would be a cold comfort to the family of Robert O’Connor, affectionately known as ‘Robby’, who loved him.

However, Gardai has treated the barbaric attack since last Friday night as a murder investigation and gathered vital evidence, including obtaining the suspects’ clothes and analyzing CCTV from the prison.

A source said last night, “There is a definite investigation into this matter, but there is absolutely no need to rush anything here.”