This year the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas celebrate their 25th Year in operation.

The London based ICPO is hosting a charity evening to celebrate the occasion in the London Irish Centre on Friday 3rd December 2010.

About the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO)

The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) is currently 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.

History of the ICPO

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.

ICPO Members

The ICPO is a subcommittee of the Council for Emigrants, chaired by:

Bishop Séamus Hegarty

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, Catherine Jackson, Sr Anne Sheehy

Volunteers Maynooth: Sr Agnes Hunt, Eileen Boyle, Joan O’Cléirigh, Sr Mary Whyte

Staff London: Liz Power, Joseph Cottrell-Boyce

Volunteers London: Sr Maureen McNally, Sr Cecelia Snape, Rev Stephen McKenna

Work of the ICPO

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.