80. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the maternity and midwifery services provided in each of the women's prisons, by prison; the protocols in place in each for when babies are born in prison; the number of babies born to prisoners, by prison, in each of the years 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15841/17]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the level of maternity care provided to women in custody, including both pre- and ante-natal care, is comparable to that available to women in the community. It is provided on a shared care arrangement between the maternity hospital to which the patient is referred, and the Healthcare Team in the Dóchas Centre.
Pregnant women attend maternity hospital, and the babies receive the same care from Public Health Nurses as that provided to a baby born outside prison. The Dóchas Centre provides a 24hr nursing service, and has daily access to a Prison Doctor.
The Irish Prison Service ensures that provisions are made in the Dóchas Centre to facilitate new mothers keeping their infants with them so as not to disrupt early bonding. Each mother and child are provided with their own single room with ensuite facilities on their return to the Dóchas Centre after giving birth. Required items such as cot, baby food, nappies, etc are also provided. As there is no mother and baby unit in Limerick Prison, any woman who needs to be accommodated in such a unit is facilitated with a transfer to the Dóchas Centre.
The Irish Prison Service does not record data in the format requested in this question. However, it can confirm the number of children born to women in custody in 2015 was nil and in 2010 was two.