THE prison service has been criticised for not doing enough to protect prison officers after two incidents in Mountjoy and Castlerea prisons yesterday left a prisoner seriously injured and five prison officers in need of hospital treatment.
At Mountjoy, a prisoner suffered serious stab wounds and a number of others suffered superficial injuries after a row broke out in the B-wing of the prison at 11am.
Prison officers intervened quickly and while bringing the incident under control, four sustained injuries including a broken arm and a head wound.
Gardaí and the prison authorities will carry out investigations into the incident.
Meanwhile, a prison officer was recovering in hospital in Galway last night after being attacked early yesterday morning with a piece of broken crockery at Castlerea prison in Roscommon.
The officer suffered a facial wound in the incident which happened at around 5am.
A number of officers went to deal with a disruptive prisoner when the attack happened.
The prisoner, a man in his 50s, is on remand at the prison after being arrested in relation to an alleged domestic incident in Co Galway.
He apparently refused to co-operate when prison officers went to his cell and a violent scuffle took place.
The prison officer who had to be hospitalised was wearing a protective visor but he was attacked and was cut under the visor.
The Prison Officers’ Association has said it is seriously concerned at what are becoming more frequent attacks on its members.
It said it would be seeking a meeting with the authorities as soon as possible to discuss the increasing incidences of attacks on its members.
Eugene Dennehy, deputy general secretary of the POA said his organisation was continually raising the issue with the prison service and said it simply was not good enough to say that the incidents were “part of the job”.
“They cannot continue to play down the significance of this,” he said.
“We have had these incidents over the weekend but before that we had a young prison officer stabbed in Mountjoy prison and another officer was slashed in the incident.
“Shortly before that a female officer was badly assaulted in Mountjoy. The prison service must front up to the fact that it cannot be part of anyone’s job description to be assaulted.”
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