Tracking devices have been placed on prison officers’ cars and conversations between solicitors and prisoners have been monitored during covert surveillance on the country’s prisons.
The explosive claims are contained in a sworn affidavit given to Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and the prison service this week by a serving prison officer.
His solicitor has also written to Mr Flanagan asking for a public inquiry given the seriousness of the allegations.
The sworn document also alleges that a private detective agency was hired to carry out the bugging and surveillance without the necessary legal permits and permissions.
The covert operation, to stem the flow of drugs and mobile phones into prisons, targeted both prison officers and prisoners suspected of smuggling contraband into prisons.
Among the claims in the affidavit are:
The Irish Examiner understands the complaint was made in the form of an affidavit because the complainant and his solicitor had no confidence in the operation of the Protected Disclosure Act in either the prison service or the Department of Justice.
Copies were also sent to the Irish Prison Service and the Chief State Solicitor’s office.
A spokesperson the Department of Justice declined to comment on any specific case.
When asked whether an outside agency would be retained to investigate this matter, the spokesperson said: “Any allegations of malpractice in the prison service which are made in the context of court proceedings, by way of protected disclosure or otherwise, are treated with the utmost seriousness and are dealt with according to established mechanisms, which include independent evaluation where appropriate.”
A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service said they had no comment to make.
Last week, in an entirely separate case, prison officer Noel McGree appeared in private before the Oireachtas Public Accounts to testify on his experience within the prison service after he made a protected disclosure two years ago.
The PAC is expected to discuss the evidence this week with a view to calling in officials from the Department of Justice and the Irish Prison Service to discuss Mr McGree’s evidence.