Ex prisoner says rights breached by having to slop out in Limerick Prison

Susan McGovern has sued the the Irish Prison Service, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General and the Governor of Limerick Prison.

Ex prisoner says rights breached by having to slop out in Limerick Prison

A number of cases by former prisoners over having to 'slop out' have been mentioned before the High Court.

In one action, Susan McGovern, a former prisoner at Limerick Women's Prison, claims she was subjected to degrading treatment by the slopping-out regime between 2000 and 2003 and from April 2012 to May 2013.

McGovern with addresses at Hennessy's Road, and Manor Court, Cork Road in Waterford has sued the the Irish Prison Service, the Minister for Justice, Ireland and the Attorney General and the Governor of Limerick Prison.

She claims her rights were breached after she was made sleep on a matress in overcrowded cells that lacked toilets.

Cells 'poorly ventilated, chaotic and unhygenic', ex-prisoner claims

She claims she and her former cellmates were provided with a small bucket, and had to go to the toilet in the plain view of other inmates.

She had to queue with other prisoners while waiting to empty it, she claims.

The cells she claims were poorly ventilated, chaotic and unhygenic. She claims that the regime affected her physical and mental health, and deprived her of her human dignity.

As a result of the conditions of her incarcertaion Ms McGovern, represented in Court by Rachel McGovern Bl, has brought a damages claim against the State and the prison authorities alleging breaches of her Constitutional Rights and Rights under the European Convention on Human Rights.

The claims are denied.

The State parties represented by Frederick Gilligan Bl, say the claim should be dismissed on grounds including that the claim is statue barred.

When the matter was breifly mentioned before Ms Justice Leonie Reynolds, counsel argued the case should be considered by a State redress board set up following a ruling in a one of many cases brought over the slopping-out regime in the State's prisons.

Constitutional right to protection of the person

Last year the Supreme Court said former prisoner Gary Simpson was enitled to €7,500 damages over having to slop out while he was in jail.

This was becasue he had to use a bucket as a toilet, and empty it each morning, for almost eight months in 2013 in Mountjoy Prison and this amounted to a violation of his constitutional right to protection of his person, and to “substandard” cell conditions.

Ms Justice Reynolds, who directed that the State parties file a defence to McGovern's claim within 12 weeks, adjourned the action.

Another slopping-out claim, taken by Christoper Coakley Empress Place, Dublin 1 arising out of his detention at Mountjoy prison in 2011 and in 2012, was briefly mentioned before the Master of the High Court.

He had claimed that during his incarceration he was placed with other inmates in cells that lacked toilets and any running water. He would have to defecate into a pot or bag, or newspapers in the presence of cellmates, and was present when he did the same, it was alleged.

The Master was due to deal with an application brought by Coakley's lawyers, in the wake of the Simpson ruling to remit the claim to the Circuit Court.

However the Master Edmund Honohan SC, was told that the case could be struck out as the claim had been resolved between the parties.

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