Tagasi Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Ireland

A delegation of the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) carried out a visit to Ireland from 23 September to 4 October 2019. It was the CPT’s seventh visit to the country.
Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Ireland

The main objective of the visit was to review the progress in the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations since its previous visit in 2014 in relation to prison matters, notably as regards the treatment of prisoners on restricted regimes and older persons in prison as well as the provision of health care. Particular attention was also paid to the treatment and conditions of detention of persons deprived of their liberty by the police.

Further, the CPT’s delegation examined the treatment of patients in three psychiatric facilities and, for the first time in Ireland, residents with intellectual disabilities in social care establishments.

In the course of the visit, the delegation met with Charles Flannagan, Minister of Justice and Equality, Oonagh McPhilips, Deputy Secretary General of the Department of Justice and Equality, Caron McCaffrey, Director-General of the Irish Prison Service, as well as with officials from the Departments of Justice and Equality and Health. It also met senior representatives of the Health Service Executive, An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service.

In addition, the delegation met with the Inspector of Prisons, Patricia Gilheaney and representatives of the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA), the Mental Health Commission, the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission. It also met with the Irish Penal Reform Trust, the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, the College of Psychiatrists of Ireland, Mental Health Reform and Inclusion Ireland.

At the end of the visit, the delegation presented its preliminary observations to the Irish authorities.

The visit was carried out by the following members of the CPT:

  • Julia Kozma (Head of delegation)
  • Thomas Feltes
  • Georg Høyer
  • Alan Mitchell
  • Jari Pirjola
  • Elisabetta Zamparutti.

They were supported by Hugh Chetwynd (Head of Division) and Claire Askin of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by an expert, Pétur Hauksson, psychiatrist, former Head of the Psychiatric Department at Reykjalundur Rehabilitation Centre, Iceland.

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Police stations
  • Bridewell District Garda Station, Cork
  • Clontarf Garda Station, Dublin
  • Cobh District Garda Station, Cork
  • Mountjoy Garda Station, Dublin
  • Store Street District Garda Station, Dublin
  • Arbour Hill Prison
  • Cloverhill Prison
  • Cork Prison
  • Midlands Prison
  • Mountjoy Prison*
Social care homes
  • Hazelwood Centre, Dublin
  • Stewarts Care residential services for adults with intellectual disabilities, Palmerstown Campus, Dublin
Mental health establishments
  • Department of Psychiatry, St Luke’s Hospital, Kilkenny
  • Sliabh Mis Mental Health Admission Unit, University Hospital Kerry, Tralee
  • St Aloysius Ward, Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin.

*Targeted visit to the Challenging Behaviour and High Support Units and to persons on restricted regimes.

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