Buy it. The Governor by John Lonergan

Recommendation – Buy and read “The governor – The life and times of the man who ran Mountjoy. Written by John Lonergan, Penguin Ireland. ISBN 978-1-844-88240-3

This man is a gem.

on page 154 “I have seen horrible examples of abuses of power by members of the Garda Siochana, bringing in prisoners who present no security threat with hands handcuffed behind their backs. Is there any need to handcuff a 75 year old man? Or a man with a broken leg? I have seen both.”….

…. in the mid 1990s, British Prisons Minister Ann Widdecombe, defended the shackling of a young female prisoner during childbirth. I spoke immediately after her. I said “To shackle a young mother during childbirth is nothing short of an abuse of power. I have been around long enough and have worked with women prisoners for many years, but so far I’ve never heard of a woman escaping from custody while giving birth.”

He also described a situation where a woman on weekend release returned to Dochas on Sunday night, then on Monday, she was escorted to the Mater hospital in handcuffs. So John Lonergan limited the use of cuffs to security risks.

His views of Ministers for Justice is revealing.

On civil servants page 214, “Being known as a safe pair of hands is a huge advantage if you have any ambition in the civil service.”…………ministers,,, “In the prison service they sometimes opened the same facility a second or third time, especially if an election was coming up.”

He describes Nora Owen as “nice, kind, approachable and good-natured woman, … and a good Minister for Justice.

For John O’Donoghue …. “a humanity , a kindness and a compassion that was as impressive as it was unexpected.”

“Up to …..June 2010, Dermot Ahern did not visit Mountjoy, I never met him or spoke to him. I think that summarizes Dermot Ahern’s interest in and commitment to prisons.”

I wish John a long and fruitful retirement. Keep doing things and intervening. Make yourself a nuisance. Your country need you still.