THE number of drug seizures made at Cork prison this year is almost on a par with last year, despite visitor restrictions across the prison estate.
According to figures provided by the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, there have been 52 drug seizures made in Cork prison up to December 5 this year.
The figure compared with 58 in the period up to December 7 last year.
In providing the figures, Minister McEntee said: “The Irish Prison Service is committed to addressing both the demand for and the supply of illegal drugs.
"The prevention of access to contraband including illegal drugs into prisons will always be a high priority for the Irish Prison Service. It is considered that approximately 70% of prisoners who are committed to custody have addiction issues.”
She said many of those with active addiction continue their drug seeking behaviour inside prison, notwithstanding the supports that are available to address their addiction.
She added: “Drugs will continue to be an issue in our prisons as long as people continue to take drugs in our communities. The Irish Prison Service is finalising a new Keeping Drugs Out of Prisons Policy which will be published early next year. The Service is committed to making improvements in security measures and recently introduced new technologies such as drug swabbing equipment which is similar to airport style explosives swabbing.”
She added: “The Service have also introduced a pilot anti-drone system in two Dublin prisons and I am advised that this has proven to be successful. The Prison Service are in the process of installing the technology in a number of other locations before the end of 2020, with the system to be rolled out to the remaining locations in 2021.”
The Irish Prison Service also provides support to prisoners to address their addiction needs while in custody, there are 22 addiction counsellors employed across the prison estate.