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official complaint Solicitor told to remove bra when trying to visit client in Cloverhill Prison

"At this stage, I was absolutely horrified by what was happening. I felt extremely embarrassed and very exploited”

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The solicitor made an official complaint on the matter.

The solicitor made an official complaint on the matter.

The solicitor made an official complaint on the matter.

A solicitor was told to remove her bra to gain access to a prison in order to visit a client.

The solicitor made an official complaint after she said was subject to “a degrading incident” when trying to gain access to Cloverhill Prison in June 2020, the Irish Examiner reported.

The incident occurred when the solicitor was passing through the security detector in the prison and the alarm kept sounding.

Once the lady had removed all items such as jewellery and shoes and the alarm was still sounding, the solicitor alleges that a male prison officer asked her, “are you wearing any underwear?”.

The woman was then informed she would not be able to gain access if the alarm continued to be set off.

Another prison officer then told her she may go to the bathroom to take off her bra there.

"At this stage, I was absolutely horrified by what was happening. I felt extremely embarrassed and very exploited,” the woman told the Irish Examiner.

"Not only did I feel extremely vulnerable and targeted as a woman I felt humiliated that my dignity had been so casually torn from me”.

The woman said she attempted to cover herself with her jacket for the remainder of the visit to the client, and added she was “close to crying because of how powerless they made me feel”.

The solicitor said she had attended many prisons and had never been treated in such a way.

She then alleged a male solicitor had been to see the same client and though the alarm sounded three times as he sought to gain access, no such requests were made of him.

The Irish Prison confirmed a complaint was “received and investigated” but also added it does not comment on internal matters.

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The solicitor will seek a meeting with Justice Minister Heather Humphreys in relation to the issue.
 

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