'I was in prison and you visited me' (Matthew 25:36)
Caring for Irish Prisoners Overseas
The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference
This council comes under the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care
Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas – ICPO
Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3156 Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6401
50-52 Camden Square
London NW1 9XB
Tel: +44 (0)207 482 4148 Fax: +44 (0)207 482 4815
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The ICPO is a subcommittee of the Council for Emigrants.
The ICPO has two offices; one located in Maynooth, Co. Kildare and the other in London. The London office deals solely with Irish born prisoners held in the UK, while the Maynooth office assists Irish prisoners held all over the world.
Staff Maynooth: Brian Hanley is the co-ordinator and the case workers are Claire O’Connell, Ian Hanna, Eilis Peoples, Bernie Martin, Catherine Kenny and Ciara Kirrane.
Volunteers Maynooth: Sr Agnes Hunt, Eileen Boyle, Joan O’Cléirigh and Sr Anne Sheehy.
Staff London: Fr Gerry McFlynn, Breda Power, Liz Power, and Declan Ganly.
Volunteers UK: Sr Agnes Miller, Kathleen Walsh, Sr Moira Keane and Sally Murphy.
The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) is the only organisation working on behalf of Irish prisoners overseas and their families.
ICPO’s purpose is to promote social justice and human dignity for Irish people in prison overseas and their families. This is carried out by offering information, support and advocacy to prisoners and their families. Casework, publications and policy/networking are key elements of the service provision to the core group.
ICPO was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1985. At this time the Irish Chaplaincy in Britain were greatly concerned about the number of Irish women and men in prison in the UK. There were deeply held concerns regarding their trials and subsequent imprisonments. In recent years the ICPO has been able to offer a more comprehensive service to prisoners and to expand our existing services to prisoners’ families. This is due to an increased level of funding from the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The ICPO works for all Irish prisoners wherever they are: it makes no distinction in terms of religious faith, the nature of the prison conviction, or of a prisoner’s status.
The objectives of the ICPO are to:
Identify and respond to the needs of Irish prisoners abroad, and their families
Research and provide relevant information to prisoners on issues such as deportation, repatriation and transfer
Focus public attention on issues affecting Irish prisoners (ill-treatment, racist abuse, etc)
Engage in practical work in aid of justice and human rights for Irish migrants, refugees and prisoners at an international level
Visit Irish prisoners abroad when possible both in the UK and elsewhere
The ICPO is greatly indebted to its funders for their generous support.