Portlaoise Prison: Difference between revisions

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Through the years there have been various high profile attempts to spring prisoners from inside the walls. In 1974 nineteen prisoners escaped in one day-light escape.
 
Through the years there have been various high profile attempts to spring prisoners from inside the walls. In 1974 nineteen prisoners escaped in one day-light escape.
   
In 1975 during an attempted jailbreak by the IRA, Volunteer Tom Smith of the IRA's Dublin Brigade was shot dead by the Irish Defence Forces. The prisoners had blasted their way through a door in the recreation area into the prison yard. As the prisoners entered the yard, Irish soldiers opened fire on the unarmed inmates, shooting Smith in the head. His funeral in Dublin was attended by thousands of republicans. <ref>http://www.anphoblacht.com/news/detail/8970 Tom Smith honoured in Dublin</ref>
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In 1975 during an attempted jailbreak by the IRA, convicted terrorist Tom Smith of the IRA's Dublin Brigade was shot dead by the Irish Defence Forces. The prisoners had blasted their way through a door in the recreation area into the prison yard. As the prisoners entered the yard, Irish soldiers opened fire on the escapee's, shooting Smith in the head.
   
 
In November 1985 an IRA mass breakout failed when the bomb, which had been assembled within the prison itself, failed to detonate at the prison gates. <ref>[[The Times]], 25 November 1985; pg 2 col A</ref>
 
In November 1985 an IRA mass breakout failed when the bomb, which had been assembled within the prison itself, failed to detonate at the prison gates. <ref>[[The Times]], 25 November 1985; pg 2 col A</ref>

Revision as of 10:32, 23 July 2009

Portlaoise Prison
Location Portlaoise, Co. Laois
Status Operational
Security class Maximum security
Capacity 210
Opened 1830s
Managed by irish Prison Service
Governor Mr. Edward Whelan

Portlaoise Prison is a maximum security prison located in Portlaoise, Co. Laois, Ireland. It should not be confused with the Midlands Prison, which is a newer, medium security prison situated directly beside it.

The prison was built in the 1830s, making it one of the oldest in the Irish prison system -- it still operates to this day. It is noted as the prison in which people convicted of membership of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA) and other illegal paramilitary organisations are usually detained.

Security

The prison has a capacity for 203 prisoners, but because of the security sensitive nature of its inmates, it operates below this capacity. A large number of well armed Irish Defence Forces soldiers guard the prison 24 hours a day, making it one of the most secure prisons in Europe.[citation needed]

The security features include a detachment of a platoon of 33 soldiers, armed with rifles and anti-aircraft machine guns, who patrol the perimeter, the rooftops and man the watch towers. An air exclusion zone operates over the entire complex. The perimeter consists of high walls, cameras, sensors and acres of tank traps.

Through the years there have been various high profile attempts to spring prisoners from inside the walls. In 1974 nineteen prisoners escaped in one day-light escape.

In 1975 during an attempted jailbreak by the IRA, convicted terrorist Tom Smith of the IRA's Dublin Brigade was shot dead by the Irish Defence Forces. The prisoners had blasted their way through a door in the recreation area into the prison yard. As the prisoners entered the yard, Irish soldiers opened fire on the escapee's, shooting Smith in the head.

In November 1985 an IRA mass breakout failed when the bomb, which had been assembled within the prison itself, failed to detonate at the prison gates. [1]

Controversy

In May 2007, an inmate named John Daly, who was serving 9 years for Armed Robbery called an RTÉ radio show called liveline.[2] He called in to defend himself against Sunday World crime journalist Paul Williams who was speaking on the radio show at the time. Daly was on air for a few minutes before Prison Guards took the phone off him and ended the conversation.

This phone call resulted in a major clampdown in all Irish Prisons and over 1,300 pieces of contraband being confiscated. Items confiscated in the cell by cell searches included numerous mobile phones, plasma televisions and even a budgie.

John Daly received many death threats from fellow inmates after calling the show and as a result was transferred to other prisons twice before his release in October 2007. A few weeks after he was released, he was murdered in Finglas after a night out.

Notable inmates

References

External links

Coordinates: 53°02′17″N 7°17′13″W / 53.038°N 7.287°W / 53.038; -7.287