EU legislation which will allow for the transfer of prisoners without their consent is expected to be implemented by member states by the end of 2014. The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas supports the decision by the British and Irish Governments to continue to require consent before prisoners are transferred from the UK to Ireland or Ireland to the UK.
The Irish Government intends to bring the EU measure into Irish law this year but in recognition of the unique relationship between the UK and Ireland, and the logistics of the Common Travel Area, prisoners will not be compulsorily transferred between the two jurisdictions.
Joanna Joyce, Coordinator of the ICPO in Ireland, said, “We work with over 1,000 Irish prisoners in the UK, some of whom want to be transferred to Ireland. The ICPO will continue to provide support to those who wish to be repatriated. However, this does not apply to all Irish prisoners in the UK. A large number of Irish prisoners in the UK are habitually resident there and have all their family and social ties in that country. They would suffer undue hardship if forced to serve the remainder of their sentence in Ireland. Therefore, we fully support the decision to continue to require prisoner consent for transfers between Ireland and the UK”.
Father Gerry McFlynn, Manager of the ICPO London office, said, “Whether it is suitable for an Irish prisoner to be transferred to serve their sentence in Ireland depends on each individual case. Some Irish prisoners in the UK wish to serve the remainder of their sentence in Ireland so they can be closer to family and friends. However, in contrast, many others have lived in the UK for most of their lives. The ICPO welcomes and supports the fact that this has been recognised by the two Governments in their decision not to compulsorily transfer prisoners between Ireland and the UK”.