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This Sunday, 10th November is Prisoners Sunday - a day when we remember and pray for people who are detained for crimes. Visiting and helping prisoners is one of the corporal works of mercy for it is included in the great discourse of Jesus in Matthew 25: 32ff: 'I was in prison and you visited me'. Here is information on how the Irish Church is helping Irish prisoners overseas.


'Father of Mercy, the secrets of all hearts are known to you alone. You know who is just and you forgive the unjust. You alone are the Almighty Judge. We are not worthy of judging anyone. Your mercy is enough for sinners. Hear our prayers for those in prison. Give them repentance and let them believe in you. Give them patience and hope in their sufferings, and bring them home again soon. Comfort their near and dear ones. Let them trust in Jesus Christ and live with hope. Amen.'

Prisoners Overseas

Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference

This council comes under the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care

Contact Details

Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas – ICPO Columba Centre Maynooth Co. Kildare Ireland Tel: +353 (0)1 505 3156 Fax: +353 (0)1 601 6401 Email: Website:

ICPO (London) 50-52 Camden Square London NW1 9XB UK Tel: +44 (0)207 482 4148 Fax: +44 (0)207 482 4815 Email:


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 Ian Hanna, Catherine Kenny, Ciara Kirrane and Leslie Alcock.

Adm: Bernadette Martin

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.

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