The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today said, "I have asked the Inspector of Prisons to carry out an urgent independent investigation into all the circumstances surrounding the recording of telephone conversations between prisoners and their solicitors. The Inspector has been asked to carry out his investigation pursuant to section 31 of the Prisons Act, 2007 and to submit his report to me as soon as possible. The Inspector’s report will be published."

The terms of reference of the investigation are as follows:

(a) identify the circumstances which gave rise to the recording of these telephone conversations and the action taken to address this;

(b) any action now required to address the issue including any amendments to existing law, regulations and practices; and

(c) consider the data protection implications of the recording of conversations and any action required to ensure compliance with Data Protection legislation and the rights of those in prison.

Minister Shatter has requested the Inspector of Prisons to submit his report on the investigation as soon as possible.

A copy of Minister Shatter’s letter to the Inspector of Prisons has been given to the Director General of the Irish Prison Service who has been asked to provide the Inspector with every assistance possible.

2 April 2014

ENDS