'inhumane' | 

One of Ireland's most dangerous inmates sues prison service over solitary confinement

Brendan Cummins (27) has committed a string of violent attacks, including throwing boiling water on a prison officer in 2020.

Maeve McTaggartSunday World

One of Ireland’s most dangerous inmates is suing the prison service after being kept in solitary confinement for 3.5 years, reports have claimed.

Brendan Cummins (27) has 19 criminal convictions and has committed a string of violent attacks, including swinging a samurai sword at a garda and pouring boiling water on a prison officer.

In one court appearance, the violent criminal was flanked by officers in riot gear.

He is now suing the State, the Irish Times reports, for the 3.5 years he has spent in solitary confinement.

His legal team are said to have submitted to the High Court that the treatment Cummins has received is “inhumane”, “draconian” and “degrading.”

In a report citing the UN, Dr Rioghnach O’Leary said solitary confinement that lasts more than 15 days is torture.

He added Cummins will need “years of psychotherapy” to recover from the treatment.

The 27-year-old has been in 23-hour-a-day lock-up.

He is escorted around the prison by officers in riot gear and receives an hour to exercise outside alone.

The Irish Prison Service has said he meets all the criteria for housing in the National Violence Reduction Unit and his status is kept under constant review.

The prisoner’s volatile behaviour landed him in solitary confinement to give staff “a break,” the Sunday World recently reported.

A former champion youth boxer, Cummins has been in and out of prison for the age of 16 and is notoriously violent.

Earlier this month, he pleaded guilty to two knife attacks in Dundalk in 2019, attacking a garda with a samurai sword and three assaults on prison officers.

His knife attacks in Louth took place just a month apart as in April, Cummins slashed a man in the face and back with a Stanley knife in the Marian Park.

A month later, he knocked a man to the ground in a house he was drinking in with a group of people.

He told a woman to film him slashing a man with a Stanley knife, ordering him: “Tell me I’m the surgeon. I’m the daddy.”

"You’re going to die, you’re going to die,” he told the victim as the man escaped through an upstairs window, breaking his leg.

Armed gardaí in burst into his home to arrest him a month later when he came out of his bedroom swinging a samurai sword.

He slashed at a garda’s ballistics shield as he was overpowered by officers.

In August 2020, he threw boiling water on a prison officer’s face and chest, the court heard.

When he learned another officer present on the day of the attack had given a statement to gardaí, he attacked him and another prison officer in January 2021.

Cummins lunged at them, punching one in the face with threats to kill.

He is due to be sentenced for those attacks in January and already has 19 criminal convictions.

The High Court will also hear Cummins case against the State for his solitary confinement in January.

He is seeking the removal of Rule 62 – where prisoners can be isolated from the rest of the population – and recognition that his treatment has been “irrational” and “unreasonable.”

The National Violence Reduction Unit in the Midlands prison is a tightly controlled section designed for the most violent criminals in the prison system.


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