Covid-19 in the Irish Prisons - February 26th, 2021

Press Statement

Covid-19 in the Irish Prisons – 26 February 2021


  • Two outbreaks of Covid-19 currently being managed by the Irish Prison Service
  • Confirmed cases in Arbour Hill and Midlands Prison totalling 24 prisoner cases
  • Outbreak Control Teams established in each location
  • A range of measures introduced to prevent the spread of the virus


The Irish Prison Service can confirm that 13 prisoners in Arbour Hill Prison and 11 prisoners in the Midlands Prison have tested positive for Covid-19.

Outbreak Control Teams (OCT) have been established in Arbour Hill and the Midlands Prisons to agree and oversee the appropriate actions to be taken to mitigate against further possible spread of the disease within those prisons.

The Irish Prison Service has been hugely successful in protecting the prison community from Covid-19 with the first case in a prison only being confirmed in August and in that case it was a person who was committed to custody with the virus. Through the introduction of robust infection control measures and an internationally recognised Contact Tracing System the Service has successfully mitigated against the spread of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic.

The Irish Prison Service has developed a 5 stage Framework for Living With Covid-19 in line with the National Framework published by the Government. The Framework sets out the necessary restrictive measure to be adopted as the Country moves from level to level and has allowed the Service to respond to Public Health advice and Government decisions in a dynamic and timely manner.

However, given the current level of prevalence of the virus in the community the Irish Prison Service now faces an unprecedented challenge in continuing to keep staff & prisoners safe from infection. The Service has successfully managed a number of outbreaks since the beginning of this pandemic.

The Service is working closely with HSE Public Health with regard to the management of the current outbreaks including making arrangements for the mass testing of prisoners and staff if required.