Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas presents to Oireachtas Committee on repatriation
The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) presented to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality this afternoon on the issue of repatriation of Indeterminate Sentence for Public Protection (IPP) sentenced prisoners in the United Kingdom.
IPP sentenced prisoners are not eligible to repatriation to Ireland. The IPP was abolished by the UK Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. Two issues apply: there is no sentence conversion for those already serving an IPP sentence in the UK and, in addition, Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality currently does not accept repatriation applications from IPP sentenced prisoners on the basis that there is no equivalent indeterminate sentence under our law.
During today’s Oireachtas presentation the ICPO described its concerns in relation to these issues and highlighted the importance of repatriation. The ICPO asked the Oireachtas members that any legal difficulty surrounding the repatriation of IPP sentenced prisoners be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Ms Joanna Joyce, coordinator of the ICPO in Ireland, said, “Repatriation would benefit families and society by permitting prisoners to serve their sentence close to their families. Maintaining family ties assists reintegration and rehabilitation.”
Father Gerry McFlynn, manager of the ICPO London office, said, “Repatriation is extremely important for Irish prisoners who wish to serve their sentence close to their families. Maintaining family relationships during a period of imprisonment is vital for the wellbeing of offenders and their families. Some Irish prisoners, knowing that they cannot apply for repatriation, are finding this situation extremely difficult to cope with and we are extremely concerned for the health and wellbeing of these prisoners. We thank the Oireachtas committee for providing us with the opportunity today to highlight this important issue.”
Notes for Editors
• The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas is a charitable organisation, which was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1985. The ICPO works on behalf of Irish prisoners overseas to provide information and support to these prisoners and their families. The ICPO is based in the Columba Centre, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare. See www.catholicbishops.ie
For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444