With social distancing nearly impossible and with some prison facilities unable to provide adequate safeguards Irish Prisons have seen an increase in Covid-19 infections.
As the novel coronavirus has spread throughout Ireland a number of prisoners and prison staff have now tested positive for Covid-19 with many prisons around the country affected. Legal claims from prisoners and prison staff seeking damages for negligent acquisition of covid-19 may soon be pursued.
Speaking about the potential for such cases, Litigation Solicitor Liam Moloney who has experience in handling infectious disease cases for prison staff said today ‘’inmates and prison staff alike unfortunately in many situations are unable to adequately social distance and therefore have less protection from the virus than other employment settings. Prisons must quickly identify and isolate infected individuals, increase facility cleanings and provide adequate numbers of masks to protect the prison population and staff.’’
Mr Moloney added ‘’the Irish Prison Service have a duty of care to reduce where possible the risk of transmission and spread of Covid-19 infection in their prisons. They must also screen and monitor the prison population for Covid-19 and adopt appropriate measures to protect the prison population from infection. It is not an absolute duty on them under law to prevent infection but they must take reasonable steps to protect staff and prisoners from infection.”
He continued “infection control teams in each prison isolate infected inmates and staff to prevent the further spread of the virus but prison staff come in and out of prisons each day and prisoners are released daily so it is a challenging problem to reduce the spread of the virus given the unique hazards presented by prison settings”.
*In contentious business a Solicitor may not charge a fee based on a percentage of an award of damages or a settlement sum secured.*