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    “Irish Prisoners Abroad” published by DFA

    By Noreen Bowden | August 13, 2007

    A report highlighting the status of Irish prisoners abroad has been written by Chris Flood for the Department of Foreign Affairs.

    According to “Irish Prisoners Abroad”, there are about 800 Irish prisoners abroad, although Mr Flood recognises that this estimate is likely to be on the low side, as not all prisoners are known to consular officials.  Prisoners serving time away from their home countries can be disadvantaged for a variety of reasons, and, the report notes, “their plight sometimes evokes little sympathy among some sections of the wider community in Ireland”. However, the Irish government has obligations as a result of international law to ensure the consular rights of prisoners.

    The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring prisoner welfare abroad. These include:

    • Recognise a need to ensure best international practice
    • Establish a new unit within the DFA dedicated to the consular needs of prisoners
    • Establish a register of Irish prisoners abroad.
    • Ensure that every prisoner have a right to a consular visit at least once a year.
    • Embassies should pursue the automatic notification of consular staff.
    • The policy dimension of NGOs such as the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas should be funded.
    • Prisoners should receive an information pack that would include the details of ICPO.

    In launching the publication, the Minister said,

    “Of course, if Irish people commit crimes abroad, they must face the consequences of their actions before the local criminal justice system. However, we have a responsibility to ensure that our people are not discriminated against as foreign prisoners, and that any concerns they may have regarding their safety or treatment, are brought to the attention of the relevant authorities within the local prison system or the civilian authorities where necessary?.

    The Minister pledged to examine the report to see how the Government might improve on current services.

    Mr Ahern also announced a grant of €218,000 to the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas, paying tribute to the organisation’s work: “The ICPO is a valued partner in the provision of consular assistance to Irish citizens imprisoned abroad and compliments the work of our diplomatic missions”.

    Topics: Latest News, services for emigrants, social welfare | 1 Comment »

    One Response to ““Irish Prisoners Abroad” published by DFA”

    1. Frank R. Says:
      March 14th, 2008 at 7:57 pm

      I work for a telephone company in the USA that has put together a website which allows expats and tourists to make calls from various countries back to their homeland (to offices such as Social Security, Veterans Affairs, etc.). We are represented by British Telecom experts, AT&T experts and various other PPTs in many other countries. You can view how we make available free calls to the UK Veterans Affairs offices at: where you will see we offer these international calls for free.

      We have also set this same system up for prisoners in foreign countries to make calls to their families. Currently we are beta testing this in about ten facilities in Mexico, and have plans to spread it to other central and South American countries, and will be considering countries like Australia, China, UK, Ireland, etc.

      If someone wishes to discuss these possibilities with us, then please contact us at:

      Please be aware that we are NOT looking for funding or monies. We simply hope to receive input as to where our services might be most needed.

      Thank you,
      Frank R.