127. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the practice of recording calls between prisoners and their solicitors, which the Irish Prison Service first informed the Minister of in April 2014, has ceased, or if it continues to happen. [33721/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I wish to inform the Deputy that it was never the practice of the Irish Prison Service to deliberately record calls between prisoners and their solicitors.
The inadvertent recording of a small number of phone calls between prisoners and their solicitors which came to light in April 2014 was the result of solicitors contacts being placed on phone lines outside of the designated solicitor line which enjoys confidential privileges.
All necessary steps have been taken to avoid a repeat of this situation reoccurring. This includes facilitating prisoners in listing more than one solicitor on the phone system. In addition where the relationship to the prisoner is stated as solicitor that contact number cannot be entered onto a phone line where recordings take place.
In the event of a prisoner placing a contact for their legal representative on a non designated solicitor line a voice message will prompt both the persons making and receiving the call that it is being recorded. This is applicable for all of the prisoner contacts listed outside the designated solicitor lines. The onus is on the prisoner when submitting their phone panel to clearly state the relationship status the contact has to them.