Belfast Telegraph

Threatening Derry graffiti 'shows pressure facing prison staff'

Graffiti threatening prison staff appeared on a wall in Londonderry. Credit: BBC NI
Graffiti threatening prison staff appeared on a wall in Londonderry. Credit: BBC NI
Donna Deeney

By Donna Deeney

Sinister graffiti threatening the lives of serving prison officers is just one example of the pressure facing prison staff, the Chairman of the Prison Officers Association has said.

Ivor Dunne, who worked as a prison officer in Maghaberry until he took over his current role two years ago, said he spoke to officers whose names were daubed on a wall in the Creggan area of Londonderry.

The graffiti has now been painted over but it is the second time this week officers' identities have been made public alongside threats.

Earlier this week similar graffiti appeared on the walls of the former police station in Stewartstown in County Tyrone.

Mr Dunne said: "I have spoken to the prison officers that have been named and they are very concerned that they have been identified in this way.

"It is very distressing for them and their families and they are being fully supported by Northern Ireland Prison Service. Prison staff are well aware of the risks they face every day and understand the need to take their personal security seriously.

"These very public threats to these serving officers do  give an insight into the kind of pressure prison officers deal with on a daily basis.

"Every day prison officers deal with verbal threats and actual assaults but continue to carry out their duties in a professional manner treating everyone equally."

Foyle MLA, Gary Middleton said it was extremely worrying that the lives of prison officers were threatened in such a public arena.

He said: "It is a cause of great concern that the names of prison officers have been painted on a wall and I am relieved to see this sinister graffiti has now been painted over."

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