Figures obtained by Mayo Fine Gael TD John O’Mahony have revealed that €29m was spent in the past two years on transporting prisoners between prisons and court houses. Deputy O’Mahony is calling for an immediate review of the system which he says often has prison officers sitting around in the courts until the defendant’s case is called and then, in many cases, the case is put back to another hearing date.
“The system needs to be streamlined and made more efficient. It seems such a waste of valuable resources to have two prison officers accompany a defendant to a court hearing that in many cases is simply adjourned. The process has to be repeated then for the actual hearing and all I’m saying is that it should not be beyond the combined efforts of the Courts Service and the prosecution to flag adjournments in advance and prevent the Prison Service from making unnecessary journeys.
“Obviously there can’t be a blanket ban on transporting prisoners to the courts but to spend a couple of hours travelling between the prison and the court for what often can turn out to be little more than a mention in the court list is simply poor use of a valuable resource. This is not meant as a criticism of the prison officers who are merely doing their job as specified but as a commentary on a system that needs to be looked at to ensure best value,” he said.