A positive case of Covid-19 has been confirmed in Portlaoise Prison.
The Irish Prison Service has confirmed that one prisoner, who did not recently enter the facility, has tested positive.
Therefore, it is only possible that he picked up the disease inside the prison itself.
This is the first recorded case of the virus in the prison as neither it, nor its next door neighbour the Midlands Prison, had reported one since the pandemic began in March.
A spokesperson for the Irish Prison Service confirmed that a prisoner in Mountjoy prison had also tested positive.
Mass testing of all prisoners and staff began in Portlaoise yesterday and continues today.
A spokesperson said: “The Irish Prison Service can confirm that one prisoner in Portlaoise Prison and 1 prisoner in the Progression Unit in Mountjoy Prison have both tested positive for Covid-19.
“Both prisoners were not recently committed to prison therefore they have contracted the virus within the prison.
“Families of the infected prisoners have been informed.
“Outbreak Control Teams (OCT) have now been established in Portlaoise and Mountjoy to agree and oversee the appropriate actions to be taken to mitigate against further possible spread of the disease within those prisons.
“The Service is working closely with Public Health in the HSE with regard to the management of the current outbreaks including making arrangements for the mass testing of prisoners and staff in both locations.
“Arrangements are being made for the mass testing of prisoners and staff in Portlaoise Prison on Sunday and Monday, and in Mountjoy on Wednesday and Thursday next week with a further test to be carried out 7 days later.
“To help prevent the spread of infection a more restricted regime has been introduced in both prisons which may impact on access to video visits and phone calls in the short terms for prisoners in precautionary isolation however we are working to ensure that we can continue to facilitate family contact as far as possible.”