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Question

129. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to introduce an independent prisoner complaints mechanism. [12641/16]

155. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will establish a prisoner ombudsman or extend the remit of the general Ombudsman to include complaints from prisoners. [12672/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 129 and 155 together.
In my response to Dáil Question 113 on 4 May 2016, I outlined details of the current prisoner complaints system which was introduced in the Irish Prison Service in November 2012 based on a model recommended by the Inspector of Prisons who has independent oversight of the process. It was introduced in acknowledgment that prisoners must have access to a credible and robust system that deals with genuine complaints in an open, transparent, and independent way.
As outlined in that reply, the Inspector of Prisons - who is independent of Government - has carried out a review of the current prisoner complaints procedure and has made a number of recommendations, including one relating to a possible role for an Ombudsman. My officials and I are currently examining those recommendations.