Magheraberry: Lynch family to meet Ombudsman officials

Magheraberry prison.
Magheraberry prison.

SDLP Foyle MLA will meet Prison Ombudsman officials with the father of Sean Lynch, a young man from the City who seriously harmed himself in Maghaberry Prison last week to ask for a formal investigation to be instigated into the circumstances around Mr Lynch’s care in the prison, and how he was able to harm himself.

Mr Ramsey and Mr Lynch will meet with the Director of Operations in the Ombudsman’s office on Wednesday morning in Parliament Buildings.

The Foyle MLA said: “Following my meeting with the Justice Minister and Director-General of the Prison Service on Monday, I am determined that full scrutiny be brought to bear on the Prison Service and its responsibilities to prisoners following this most shocking case. I have urged the Minister and Sue McAllister to fully investigate what care Mr Lynch required in liaison with healthcare professionals in the South Eastern Trust and to identify how the system quite obviously failed him.

“The injuries Mr Lynch was able to inflict on himself during his confinement in Maghaberry Prison tells me that a new attitude to care for prisoners is required, and that simply holding an individual is not sufficient in modern times. Prisoners are entitled to the same health care whilst being held as they would be in the community, and I am at pains to see how this translated into reality for Sean and indeed other cases I am aware of.

“I am facilitating Mr Lynch’s family in making a formal complain to the Ombudsman and intend to impress upon the Ombudsman’s office that a root and branch review of how health care – both physical and mental – are integrated and provided to prisoners across the prison estate.

Many of us will never set foot in Magilligan, Maghaberry or Hydebank Wood, but it is imperative that, given these are publicly run institutions, we are satisfied that the highest standards of care, professionalism and duty to the individual are at the core of the service both in terms of policy and in practice.”