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Council of Europe anti-torture Committee visits Ireland

Strasbourg, 09.02.2010 – 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 25 January to 5 February 2010. The visit was carried out within the framework of the CPT's programme of periodic visits for 2010 and was the Committee's fifth periodic visit to Ireland.

The delegation assessed progress made since the previous visit in 2006 and the extent to which the Committee’s recommendations have been implemented. Particular attention was paid to the conditions of detention of persons in prison, and to the care afforded to patients in psychiatric institutions. The operation of the various safeguards in place in An Garda Síochána (Police) Stations was also examined, and the delegation visited for the first time in Ireland an establishment for the intellectually disabled.

In the course of the visit, the delegation held talks with Dermot AHERN, Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, John MOLONEY, Minister for Equality, Disability and Mental Health at the Department of Health, and Barry ANDREWS, Minister of State with responsibility for Children and Youth Affairs. The delegation also met Brian PURCELL, Director General of Prisons, and other senior government officials from the Ministries of Health and Children and of Justice, Equality and Law Reform, as well as the Garda Ombudsman Commission, the Inspector of Prisons, Judge Michael Reilly, and representatives of the Irish Human Rights Commission. In addition, discussions were held with members of non-governmental organisations active in areas of concern to the CPT.

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:

- Mario FELICE (Maltese), Head of delegation
- Pétur HAUKSSON (Icelander)
- Celso DAS NEVES MANATA (Portuguese)
- Eugenius GEFENAS (Lithuanian)
- Dajena POLLO (Albanian)

They were supported by Hugh CHETWYND (Head of Division) and Marco LEIDEKKER of the CPT's Secretariat, and assisted by two experts: Andres LEHTMETS, Head of the Centre of Psychiatry, West - Tallinn Central Hospital, Estonia, and Alan MITCHELL, former Head of the Scottish Prison Health Care Service, United Kingdom.

The delegation visited the following places of deprivation of liberty:

Establishments under the Ministry of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

An Garda Síochána:

- Bridewell Garda station, Cork
- Mayfield Garda Station, Cork
- Bridewell Garda station, Dublin
- Coolock Garda station, Dublin
- Finglas Garda station, Dublin
- Santry Garda station, Dublin
- Sundrive Road Garda Station, Dublin
- Tallaght Garda station, Dublin

Prison Service:

- Cork Prison
- Limerick Prison (female section)
- Midlands Prison
- Mountjoy Prison
- Portlaoise Prison
- St Patrick’s Institution

Targetted visits were paid to Cloverhill and Wheatfield Prisons and the Dóchas Women’s Centre to examine care afforded to prisoners with a mental health disorder.

Establishments under the Ministry of Health and Children

- Central Mental Hospital, Dundrum, Dublin
- St Brendan’s Hospital, Dublin
- St Ita’s Hospital, Portrane
- St Joseph’s Intellectual Disabilities Services, Portrane

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