A Trinity student was arrested and taken for questioning by Gardaí, having been caught with a mobile phone in Mountjoy Prison, while taking part in the Trinity College St Vincent de Paul Prison Football programme. He was shortly released without charge.
Despite a damning report in the Daily Star newspaper as to the student’s conduct, Stephen O’Flynn, organiser of the Prison Football programme, played down the incident on November 12th, telling Trinity News that the questioning was “standard procedure”, and that the student fully co-operated with both Prison authorities and the Gardaí.
The Daily Star reported that the Senior Freshman Medicine student was “cocky, arrogant, rude, and aggressive” to prison security staff, which led to his arrest by Gardaí. However, O’Flynn said that the Daily Star’s report was “misrepresentative” of what happened, and that authorities at Mountjoy Prison contacted him to say that the article “reflected neither the facts of the situation, nor the views of the prison officers”.
A “source” for the Daily Star claimed that the student, when asked by security staff, repeatedly denied having a mobile phone, and that he was “rude and aggressive” when an “iPhone” was found in his bag. The “source” then went on to describe how the student only had his “cocky and arrogant attitude” to blame for his subsequent arrest and questioning at nearby Mountjoy Garda Station.
O’Flynn told Trinity News that it was, in fact, an old, broken mobile phone, left mistakenly at the bottom of the student’s bag. He also said that he was personally with the student at the security point and that he was “completely co-operative at all times”.
Although the Daily Star reported that the student could be fined or jailed or both as a result of the incident. Prison authorities confirmed to O’Flynn that no charges would be pressed against the student.
New regulations were introduced two years ago by former Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, to crack down on the use of mobile phones in Irish prisons after convicted criminal John Daly infamously called RTE’s radio show, ‘Liveline’, from a mobile phone in a cell in Portlaoise Prison.
O’Flynn told Trinity News that there was no lasting damage from the incident.“The activity maintains a good relationship with Mountjoy Prison, and as such, it is continuing as usual” he said.