Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Department of An Taoiseach
98. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the way a person (details supplied) was allowed to leave the State and travel to Egypt in 2009 while under the supervision of the Prison Service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7741/17]
I am informed by the Irish Prison Service that the person in question is serving a sentence of life imprisonment. Having served 15 years in prison, he was released in 2007 in the context of a carefully structured and tightly controlled temporary release programme to live in the community under the supervision of the Probation Service, while subject to strict conditions and a schedule of weekly appointments in the prison.
In December 2008, the application to travel to Egypt was communicated to the Irish Prison Service by the person’s supervising Probation Officer in the community and was fully supported and recommended by the Probation Officer. The application to travel was approved, which included a condition that all travel arrangements and comprehensive contact details while abroad be disclosed to the Irish Prison Service in advance of the travel date.
The granting of permission for a life sentenced prisoner to travel with family on a holiday is regarded as an essential step in the re-integration process, particularly in the context of resocialisation and normalisation. It is important to emphasise that any applications received from life sentenced persons to travel outside of this jurisdiction are carefully judged on their own individual merits.
Finally I am further advised by the Irish Prison Service that the person completed the journey without incident.