180. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the reason the smoking ban is not being enforced in prisons including Wheatfield Prison, Clondalkin, Dublin 22; and the steps he plans to take to address the matter in order to protect the health of those working in the prison. [11528/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the custodial estate is exempted from certain provisions of the Public Health (Tobacco) (Amendment) Act 2004 which prohibits smoking in the workplace.
I am informed it is the policy of the Irish Prison Service that, as a place of work, each prison is smoke free, while recognising that a prison cell is a domestic setting for prisoners.
I am further informed that the Irish Prison Service strives to achieve full compliance with the legislation, and has updated the Irish Prison Service Smoking Policy to incorporate smoking in any form, including all vaping devices and e-cigarettes, in addition to the smoking of any tobacco product.
The implementation of the Smoking Policy in all Irish Prisons requires that all smoking and vaping is permitted only by prisoners within their cells (defined as their home) and in outdoor designated smoking areas. I am aware that the Irish Prison Service has a duty to safeguard each individual's health, safety and welfare by maintaining a safe and healthy environment for prisoners, staff, and all other prison visitors.
My officials in the Irish Prison Service have informed me that they are committed to securing full compliance with the smoking policy and have established a National Smoking Cessation Group to support and oversee the implementation of the Smoking Policy.
All Governors are regularly reminded of their obligations to ensure rigorous implementation of the policy.