Dáil Éireann - Volume 367 - 04 June, 1986
Written Answers. - Strip-Searching of Women Prisoners in Northern Ireland.
Mr. Skelly Mr. Skelly
14. Mr. Skelly asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the information which he will provide regarding the frequency and extent of strip-searching of the women prisoners that were formerly detained in Armagh Jail and that are now detained at Maghaberry Prison in the last four weeks; and if he has asked the British Government to replace this practice by the use of electronic scanning equipment.
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. P. Barry) Peter Barry
Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr. P. Barry): As I indicated in my reply to the Deputy on 12 March, I am concerned at the continuing practice of strip-searching of women prisoners in Armagh prison and I have raised this issue with the British authorities on a number of occasions.
The most recent details I have to hand concerning the strip-searching of female prisoners in Northern Ireland relate to March. During March a total of 37 searches were carried out on 23 prisoners; 11 prisoners were searched once; 10 were searched twice and two prisoners were searched on three occasions. Armagh prison closed on 18 March and the prisoners were transferred to Maghaberry. The figures I have given relate to both establishments.
In our contacts with the British authorities we have been seeking to reduce the practice of strip-searching to the absolute minimum consistent with the secure administration of the prisons.
Dáil Éireann 367 Written Answers. Strip-Searching of Women Prisoners in Northern Ireland.