Belfast Telegraph

Prison officers balloted for strike

Prison officers at Mountjoy are to ballot for industrial action in a deepening row over staffing and the segregation of inmates.

Members of the Prison Officers' Association (POA) met staff in the Victorian jail who unanimously decided to take the vote which could ultimately lead to a strike.

The row with the Irish Prison Service escalated last Tuesday when officers refused to return to their posts, forcing Mountjoy's 700 inmates to be locked in their cells.

The walk-out lasted four hours until governor Ned Whelan intervened.

Prison officers were angered over the transfer of violent criminal Leroy Dumbrell into Mountjoy's separation unit after a successful court challenge against his solitary confinement in Castlerea Prison in Roscommon.

The special unit in Mountjoy had been developed to house inmates in need of protection from others in the jail.

Dumbrell, 24, is serving eight years for assault and had been held in the Roscommon facility for five months amid fears he would be involved in jail violence.

The POA claimed the decision to bring him back to Mountjoy had been designed to create conflict.

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