Chaplain increase welcomed

Chaplains needed to facilitate “deep spirituality within prisons”

Cork prisoners will again have a full-time chaplain following the announcement that new positions are to become available nationally. Currently, Cork prisoners do not have a chaplain, relying on assistance from a parish priest.

Justice minister Francis Fitzgerald announced that one full-time position would be created for Cork and Limerick prisons. Part-time chaplains will be appointed to Mountjoy Campus, West Dublin Campus and Loughan House Open Centre. Chaplaincy resources will increase to 15, covering 14 prisons.

Co Cork priest Fr David Murphy currently provides a chaplaincy service to Cork prison, since full-time chaplain Fr Michael Kidney retired in 2011. He is not employed as a full-time chaplain and juggles prison work with being a parish priest.

Fr Murphy welcomed the announcement that a full-time chaplain would be employed at the prison. However, he added that developments in the Irish Prison Service “can move slowly”, so it still could take some time for the position to be filled.

According to Fr Murphy, there is a “deep spirituality within prisons” and a “significant” number of prisoners attend Mass in Cork prison. He expects more than 200 prisoners will attend Mass on Christmas morning.

A new €35 million prison in Cork is due to open in 2015.