Gardaí are investigating an alleged illegal entry to two prisons of a person who was brought in under false pretences.
The person was brought in by a manager and she interviewed staff about security issues, gardaí were told.
The staff believed she was an employee of the Irish Prison Service (IPS), but in fact she was a civilian investigator working for an outside agency.
The Irish Prison Service has denied that this investigator entered the prisons under false pretences, but a number of sources within the prisons have confirmed that they were under the impression she was an IPS official. One staff member informed the IPS and the Department of Justice about the issue last November, but no action was taken.
He then contacted the Garda Commissioner in late February, and within two days a chief superintendent was appointed to investigate.
The Garda Press Office confirmed that “gardaí are making enquiries into the alleged breach of security protocol at Portlaoise Prison that occurred in October 2020 following a report from prison authorities".
The investigator who was brought into the prisons is investigating a protected disclosure alleging a number of prison staff personnel were recording fraudulent timesheets for hours worked. It alleged some staff were recording extra hours not worked, and doing so on a regular basis.
In response to questions about the alleged illegal entry, the IPS stated that “there is no veracity to these allegations and at no stage was the visitor introduced as an Irish Prison Service official. The reporting of any allegations contrary to this would not be truthful or accurate.”
Theis satisfied as to the veracity of the accounts it has received from prison personnel about the issue.
The statement went on to say that the proposed visit to the Midlands and Portlaoise Prisons were sent to both prisons in advance and had been pre-approved by the IPS and the prison governor.
Security procedure requires that when an individual who is not directly employed by the IPS visits the prison, the main gate must be informed of the details directly by the governor.
Theunderstands there was no direct contact to that effect on the day of the visit.