Politicians and Prisoner Welfare

Shane Phelan in the Irish Independent on the 8 June wrote a report on elected politicians writing to the Prison Service in the interests of a prisoner or his/her family. The report was headed “Outrage at politicians’ bids to get special treatment for 40 inmates”. There are insufficient details in nearly all the pen pictures or thumb nail sketches to form a rational judgement as to whether the politician’s request was fair and reasonable. It is heartening enough to think that there are quite a number of representatives willing to act in that manner.

I once had to contact Mountjoy to lobby to have a prisoner attend his brother’s funeral after a suicide and the prison officers let him out. I know the family for some time. His father delivered him back to Mountjoy later in the evening following the burial. For that mercy, I am grateful to John lonergan and his staff and so are his parents. .

The headline over such works of mercy implies malpractice on behalf of the TDs and merely acts to inflame passions and promote vengeance and not forgiveness or rehabilitation. However, it is no harm to place such activities in the public arena as it counterbalances the stupid Zero Tolerance guff from the Zorro the Country Squire from South Kerry (O’Donoghue). There is the other issue that prisoners are people, remain citizens and are entitled to vote.