Dáil Éireann - Volume 372 - 14 May, 1987

Written Answers. - Republican Prisoners.

[2063] 34. Mr. Gregory asked the Minister for Justice with regard to the Republican prisoners in Portlaoise Jail the number of prisoners who have applied for parole; the number who were granted parole; the number who were refused; and the reasons for these refusals.

Minister for Justice (Mr. Collins): I take it the Deputy is referring to offenders who were convicted by the Special Criminal Court and committed to Portlaoise Prison. There is no such category of offender within the prison system as “Republican”.

The criteria for temporary release generally in these cases is that this can only be considered in the event of a member of an offender's immediate family having died or having been diagnosed as suffering from a life-threatening condition.

The information readily available relates only to offenders who are still in Portlaoise Prison. Over the past three years temporary release of the kind outlined — which is normally of three days duration — has been granted on 21 occasions. During the same period 41 applications were rejected as not coming within the criteria or, exceptionally, for other reasons.