The Irish Prison Service (IPS) has said that physical visits to prisons are to restart on a phased basis, prison by prison.
The resumption process is to follow the schedule of the vaccination programme currently being rolled out across all prisons, with visits restarting seven days after prisoners have been fully vaccinated.
Physical visits will recommence in Wheatfield Prison on 14 July, and in Portlaoise Prison on 16 July. The IPS is aiming to resume physical visits for a number of other prisons — Loughan House, Arbour Hill, Shelton Abbey, Mountjoy, Dóchas and Castlerea — by the end of July.
The IPS is currently implementing a new framework on easing COVID-19 restrictions in prisons.
It says the resumption of visits will be subject to ongoing risk assessments and will take account of public-health advice, Government restrictions and the transmission rate of the virus in the community.
All visitors will continue to be subject to the COVID-19 screening procedures that have been in place since March 2020.
Visitors are being asked not to attend a prison in the following circumstances:
- If you have any COVID-19 symptoms,
- If you have been in contact with a person who requires a COVID-19 test,
- If you have tested positive for COVID-19 and have yet to be cleared from isolating by your doctor,
- If you have been abroad in the preceding fortnight to the scheduled visit.
All prisoners will be entitled to receive one physical family visit per fortnight, of not more than 15 minutes’ duration.