Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas 25th Anniversary Conference:
‘Bridging the Distance – Supporting Irish Prisoners Overseas and their families’
Please note that (i) restrictions apply to print media reporting, and (ii) that a pooling of conference photographs will operate:
It is estimated that, at any one time, there are up to 800 Irish people in prison overseas. The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas works for Irish prisoners overseas wherever they are: we make no distinction in terms of religious faith; the nature of a prison conviction or of a prisoner’s status. ICPO has contact with Irish people in prison in more than 20 countries around the world.
The ICPO offers a comprehensive service to prisoners and to prisoner families which includes: provision of information on repatriation and deportation, assists in making referrals to post release support agencies for those returning to Ireland, a hardship fund for prisoners where access to food, water and medical treatment are very real concerns.
Loneliness and isolation is common amongst Irish people imprisoned overseas. The ICPO operates an extensive prison visiting programme in Britain and elsewhere and provides a newsletter twice yearly to its clients. ICPO provides a pen friend scheme, language books and dictionaries where needed.
In recognition of the hardship endured by prisoner’s families, ICPO offers assistance with prison visits, information about the different issues affecting their loved one in prison and holds a Family Day each year.
Programme for the ICPO 25th Anniversary Conference, ‘Bridging the Distance – Supporting Irish Prisoners Overseas and their Families’, on 9 November 2010 in the Aisling Hotel, Parkgate St, Dublin:
Chair: Ms Dearbhail McDonald, Legal Affairs Editor, Irish Independent
10:00 Registration, Tea/Coffee
10:45 Bishop Séamus Hegarty, Bishop of Derry, Chair, Irish Episcopal Council for Emigrants
11:00 Bishop Christopher Jones, Bishop of Elphin, Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care and President of ACCORD
The pastoral care of prisoners overseas and their families
11:30 President Mary McAleese, Uachtarán na hÉireann
12:15 Mr Jago Russell, CEO, Fair Trials International
Securing a fair trial overseas
12:45 Questions and Answers session
14:15 Ms Marie Cross, Assistant Secretary, Passport and Consular Division, Department of Foreign Affairs
The challenges involved in the provision of consular services to Irish prisoners overseas
14:30 Ms Lisa Cuthbert, Director, PACE. PACE is a community based voluntary agency that works with people of an offending background who have experienced periods of imprisonment.
The importance of post-release support for Irish citizens returning from prison overseas
14:45 Ms Philomena Cullen, Director, Irish Chaplaincy in Britain (ICB) and Mr Conn MacGabhann, Project Researcher, ICB
Irish Travellers in Prison – Research Project
15:00 A former ICPO client, under the condition of anonymity, has agreed to speak about his experiences in an overseas prison
15:15 Questions and Answers session
15:45 Closing Remarks