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Hot Press Banned From Irish Prisons
In an unprecedented development, the prison service has slapped a ban on Ireland’s leading music and current affairs magazine – that’s HP, incidentally – a move that legal experts say is unconstitutional.
Jason O'Toole, 25 Feb 2009
This revelation has been backed-up by a variety of sources, including prisoners and relatives of inmates. Speaking exclusively to Hot Press, John Gilligan’s ex-wife Geraldine says: “I know for definite that Hot Press is banned in the prison.”
When Dubliner Martin Farrell, who subscribes to Hot Press, was recently remanded in Cloverhill Prison he was shocked to discover that we’re banned there too. He told us: “I had Hot Press left in for me by the mother, but was told it was banned. You can get every fucking English rag, but no Hot Press! The Chef, a top screw, told me it was listed (ie: banned).”
Bizarrely, the Irish Prison Service refused to comment when asked this week to confirm if Hot Press is “allowed” in prisons, particularly Portlaoise, or if it is a banned material. In a brusque email reply, communication officer Seán Sullivan stated: “The Irish Prison Service will not be making a comment in this instance.”
Author Neville Thompson, who worked as a creative writing teacher for several years in both Portlaoise and the Midlands Prison, told Hot Press that he’s flabbergasted a mainstream publication could be prohibited by the prison authorities.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous. You know, 90% of people in prison are incarcerated for using banned substances – and now Hot Press will become the latest drug! Apart from porn, Hot Press must be the only publication that has ever been banned in Irish prisons. You’re trying to be creative and open-minded with the prisoners, so for them to ban something like a music and culture magazine shows that we are actually going backwards with education in there,” says Thompson.
Ireland’s most banned author Lee Dunne – who had eight books and two movies outlawed in Ireland – says he’s appalled by the news and is calling on the authorities to rescind their decision.
“It’s a disgrace. Any reintroduction of censorship is laughable. It’s a sad joke. It isn’t funny. In this day and age – when the world is coming out of the closet and everybody is free to be whatever they want to be – it’s just nonsensical. It’s depriving prisoners of something they’d enjoy – reading a magazine that’s basically aimed at young people,” proffers Dunne, who is the author of the seminal novel, Goodbye To The Hill.