There were 1,251 drug seizures in 10 jails across Ireland last year, records have revealed.
The highest number of drug seizures from one prison occurred in Wheatfield prison in Dublin, where there were 479 recorded incidents of drugs being seized from prisoners.
According to Freedom of Information figures, Mountjoy and Cloverhill prison were the next highest with 319 and 207 drug seizures respectively.
Limerick prison saw 116 drug seizures in 2020, while Cork, Castlerea and the Midlands all had at least 30.
John Cuffe, a retired senior prison officer, says dramatic action is needed to reduce the number of drug seizures.
Retired prison officer, John Cuffe, says a lot of the drug activity is down to boredom among inmates.
“If you look at Castlerea, Mountjoy and these other places where there’s not enough work, not enough schooling, not enough gym, pressure on staff with time - prisoners are bored out of their skulls, so drugs are going to get a foothold.”
Mr Cuffe says structure is key to preventing further trouble arising in Irish prisons:
“If you don’t keep these guys occupied, you’re going to have a problem on your hands.”