Concerns raised over conditions at Limerick Prison

margerattadarcyprotestANTI-War activist Margaretta D’Arcy claims that the facilities at Limerick Prison are so bad that it almost amount to the sort of “sensory deprivation” imposed on prisoners in places such as Guantanamo.

The 79-year-old Galway woman had a three month sentence activated last weekend after refusing to sign an undertaking to stay out of unauthorised zones at Shannon Airport. Ms D’Arcy, who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and is also being treated for cancer, claimed she was being treated well by the female prison staff members at Limerick Prison, but had some problems with some male staff.

She was visited at the closed, medium security prison on Monday by her son Finn Arden, Niall Farrell of Galway Alliance Against War, and Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch. This followed a visit on Sunday from Sabina Higgins, wife of President Michael D Higgins. The meeting has been described as “private and personal”.

A statement from Shannonwatch claimed that when she complained about the inadequacy of some of the facilities one male member of the prison staff said that ‘this is a prison after all and it is not meant to be comfortable’.”

“There were virtually no recreational facilities available to the female prisoners. Margaretta was concerned not so much for herself, but for the other female prisoners of which there are up to 30 in Limerick prison. While the male prisoners are accommodated in the new  wing, the female prisoners are in the old part of the prison. In addition the prison doctor is male, and the female prisoners have no choice of opting to be seen and treated by a female doctor, and she believes that this should be a basic civil and gender-based-right.”

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Responding to the Limerick Post on Tuesday, the Irish Prison Service stated that it does not comment on individual prisoner cases. Should any prisoner have any issue with their condition of detention, they should raise those issues with the prison governor.