One of the country’s most notorious criminals has made a second complaint about alleged disregard for the safety of prison officers by the Irish Prison Service (IPS).
Freddie Thompson, who is serving a life sentence for a gangland murder, has complained that no actions were taken against prison officers who were found to have put their colleagues’ lives in danger by disparaging them in front of prisoners.
Thompson had complained that three basic grade officers were constantly undermining three more senior officers on A Block in Portlaoise prison.
The block is reserved for prisoners who are considered to be highly dangerous.
Thompson claimed in May 2019 that the actions of the basic grade officers were damaging to one of the three senior officers in particular and “may put his life in danger if prisoners were to believe that he was lying and could not be believed”.
An external investigator upheld the complaint yet no actions were taken against the basic grade officers.
Two of the senior officers who had been targeted have been on long-term sick leave and are now engaged in legal actions against the prison service.
One of those who were the subject of the complaint is still working on A Block and Thompson’s new complaint centres on his continued presence there.
The convicted murderer is complaining that he is now being forced to engage with this prison officer despite his earlier complaint having been upheld.
This, Thompson says, is also putting his own safety at risk.
The Inspector of Prisons has also been informed of this new complaint.
The development is reported to be causing concern in the headquarters of the Irish Prison Service in Longford because it highlights the lack of action taken following the original investigation.
A report was compiled by investigator John Naughton but was then kept in Longford for seven months before being passed on for action.
Following that, no action was taken against the three basic grade officers on the basis that too much time had passed since the issues arose.
The case was raised last month in the Dáil by Aontu TD Peadar Tóibín. He called on the director-general of the prison service to explain why nothing had been done.
“I followed up on the matter as best I could via all the avenues that one would expect a deputy who seeks to have justice done for individuals in the pay of the state to do,” Mr Tóibín told the House. But so far I have found that doors have been closed to me.”