91. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons with disabilities who are currently serving sentences in prisons; the level and frequency of assessment and supports available to these prisoners; the way in which their needs are met in the relevant prisons; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [15852/17]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it deals with individual prisoners who present with a disability on a case by case basis, and makes every effort to ensure that the therapeutic needs of the individual patient are catered for in an effective and appropriate manner.
I am further advised by the Irish Prison Service that it does not record data in the format requested in this question.
The Irish Prison Service is constrained by the principle of medical confidentiality, and is not in a position to comment on the individual circumstances of the healthcare of persons in its custody. The provision of healthcare is a statutory obligation of the Irish Prison Service, and the Irish Prison Service provides Primary Healthcare Services for the assessment, treatment and care of all prisoners comparable to that available to those entitled to General Medical Services in the community and which are appropriate in a prison setting.
All prisoners are medically assessed on committal, which includes a care plan for the individual patient. Where a doctor or other healthcare professional determines that a prisoner requires treatment in an external setting following a clinical assessment, a referral can be made to the public health system. In addition, professional In-Reach healthcare services are provided as required for a range of healthcare needs.