Martin McDonagh has said he plans to sue Cork Prison after he was locked outside in an exercise yard all night, while he was an inmate in May.
Martin, who is a member of the travelling community, told Colm Moore on RedFM’s The Neil Prendeville Show that he is taking the prison to court after he was locked out from 5.30pm until 7.30am the next morning in “nothing but a muscle vest.”
Listeners heard that Martin was brought out to the yard after being asked did he want to get some fresh air, but was then left there all night.
“At 7pm, when it was time to go back to the cells, no one came for me,” Martin said.
“The sky went black and there was thunder and rain, it was an awful night.”
Martin described how he banged on the fence and "roared and shouted" to try and get someone’s attention, but unfortunately he was unsuccessful in his attempts.
Colm Moore recounted that there had been CCTV cameras in the yard that recorded Martin's attempts to stay warm by doing star jumps and running around.
“There are only so many star jumps you can do in the rain,” Martin retorted to Colm.
The next day, when Martin was found, he asked the Governor: “How did you make this mistake?”
Although Martin said he got an apology from the Governor, he said he got no answer to his question.
“In a prison of over 300 cameras, someone must have seen me out in the yard,”
“They have to do head counts, check the cells every 40 minutes, and when my cell mate asked the guard where I was they told him I was not back from court yet.”
Following his night outside in the rain and cold, Martin told Colm, he suffered from pain in his back and lungs, but was not given medical attention.
“When they found me, no one asked me if I wanted to see a doctor, I was just taken straight to court for a hearing.
Describing the conditions at Cork Prison, Martin said it was better than the old prison and the food was better.
He also mentioned that some of the prison officers can be very disrespectful to members of the travelling community.
“Some officers are very nice, but others have no respect for travellers.”
Martin said some officers make jokes such as: “Get back into your wagon” or “Come on, we are going to a horse fair”.
Martin, who has been out of prison for the past seven days, told Colm he is a changed man since he has been released and he has no plans to return to crime.
He told listeners, he regretted the trespassing and burglary crime that put him in prison and he also said he had apologised to his victims in court.
Martin said he went to jail because he did something wrong, but he was not in prison to be neglected like he was in Cork Prison.
Martin also said “his back is f*cked” since he spent the night in the exercise yard and he can no longer practise boxing as he had done for many years and he was now looking for compensation.
RedFM have said Cork Prison have been contacted and they declined to comment on the matter.
At the time of the incident a spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service said that operating procedures had been changed since the incident.
“Following the initial investigation, a number of changes to standard operating procedures have been made to ensure a repeat of the incident does not occur.”