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Friday, March 24, 2017
Call for end to unlawful detention of Irish people in UK prisons
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¬†The Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas, an agency of the Irish Catholic Bishops Conference, has called for an end to the unlawful detention of Irish-born people in UK prisons. Last April a controversy arose regarding the release of foreign prisoners into society at the completion of sentence without their first being assessed for deportation. This culminated in the dismissal of the Home Secretary Mr Charles Clarke and the subsequent reaction by the Home Office to the issue of all Foreign Nationals in custody in the UK. Ms GrŠinne Prior, Co-ordinator of the ICPO said: ''There are 1600 EU citizens in UK prisons. Irish Prisoners are by far the largest group numbering approximately 700. The recent change in legislation whereby under EU law the Citizens Directive of 2004/38 has been transposed into UK domestic law has major implications for Irish Nationals in custody in the UK. "At present Irish people who have been living in the UK for a number of years are being unjustly detained pending a decision on a deportation order. ''The ICPO's London office has dealt with 40 cases of deportation in the last month alone and these are cases that have come to our attention ≠ there may be many more people being unlawfully detained. This increase is a cause for concern and represents additional hardship for prisoners and their families." Ms Prior continued: "The ICPO believes that the present circumstances surrounding deportation are in contravention of EU law. Whereas a country has a right in relation to deportation of a non-national who has committed serious crime the instances where this can happen are listed as serious grounds of public policy or public security for those residing for five years and as imperative grounds for those residing for ten years or more." Ms Prior concluded: "Many of the Irish people being subjected to deportation decisions have not only lived in the UK for many years but have families there; their children have attended English schools and are totally integrated into English society. The ICPO believes that by abandoning people at airports back in Ireland where they have no family support or a place to stay there is a higher likelihood that they will find themselves involved in crime, even petty crime in order to survive. If the transition from the institutional life of prison to the opportunities and hopes that freedom presents are not managed and supported society is failing, not just the ex-prisoner, but society itself." The Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) was set up in 1985 to provide advice and practical support to Irish prisoners overseas as well as their families. It has two offices, one in Maynooth Co. Kildare and the other in London. The London office provides an outreach / prison visiting service to prisoners in England & Wales. The ICPO is a project of the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain and acts under the auspices of the Irish Catholic Bishop's Commission for Emigrants. Source: Irish Catholic Media Office
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