Carry On

"But officer, how have we ended up in an outdated 'Carry On' film?"


The Taoiseach has slammed the "unacceptable" actions of an officer who told a female solicitor to remove her bra when visiting a client in prison.

The female solicitor wrote a complaint to the Irish Prison Service, as reported in the Irish Examiner, stating that she was "subject to a degrading incident" when attending Cloverhill prison, Dublin.

The solicitor described a visit to the prison to see her client, in June last year. When she went through the security search monitors, an alarm went off. She complied with the initial instruction to remove her shoes, earrings, watch and jacket.

But the monitor sounded again, as she went through a second time. The solicitor alleged that a male prison officer asked: "are you wearing any underwear?" She was then told she would have to remove her bra in the bathroom, if she wanted to access the prison. 

The solicitor said there was "no option other than to comply" with the order, as her visit was urgent as it concerned bail proceedings. 

"I felt extremely embarrassed and very exploited," she said in her complaint and "was absolutely horrified by what was happening."

"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 solicitor said in her statement. She added that she was "close to crying because of how powerless they made me feel". She tried to cover herself with her jacket for the remainder of the visit.

The female solicitor said she later found out that a male colleague had previously attended the same client, but when the alarm sounded three times when he went past the monitor, "at no stage was any such request made of him and he was admitted entry."

Mary Lou McDonald, leader of the opposition, raised the issue in the the Dáil (parliament), to the Taoiseach Micheál Martin. He responded that it was “shocking and unacceptable” and confirmed he would ask the Minister for Justice for a report as to what transpired and the prison's policy and practices.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice confirmed to RollOnFriday that a report had been sought. The spokesman added that the minister responsible for the Irish Prison Service was "firmly of the view that no person should ever be asked to remove items of clothing when visiting our prisons".

A statement by the Irish Prison Service said that "all visitors to the prison, both male and female, are expected to be treated with the highest degree of respect, integrity and courtesy at all times." 

The Irish Prison Service confirmed that it was not its policy "to request any person to remove under garments in order to gain admittance to a prison" and that "allegations or claims of inappropriate behaviour by our staff are taken very seriously and are fully investigated." 

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Comments

Anonymous 09 July 21 09:47

Pathetic behaviour. Demeaning. 

Anonymous 09 July 21 10:03

Surely the male colleague wasn't wearing a bra.

Lydia 09 July 21 10:06

Dreadful. I suppose they think it less likely men (if we are allowed to use the word " men" these days)  will have metal in their underwear

Anonymous 09 July 21 10:30

Dreadful, awful, travesty, etc etc... but seriously though, what kind of weapons-grade infrastructure was built into the underwiring of her bra that it was sufficient to set off the metal detectors?!

 

Also, "She tried to cover herself with her jacket for the remainder of the visit" - like, wasn't she wearing a shirt between bra and jacket? How did that article of clothing get lost during the madness of this episode?

Proud European FBPE 09 July 21 10:32

What a horrifying story, Brexit Britain at its worst. Although, these days, that seems to be its constant state of being. Gammons all the way down.

This would never happen in Europe where we are at ease with ourselves and have embraced the tolerant progressive values that still escape the British (English, really) and where we understand that women need to be treated with the same respect as ethnic minorities.

to Anonymous 09 July 21 10:30 09 July 21 10:38

You clearly a man otherwise you would understand how it works so I will explain. Fabric of the blouse may have been slightly sheer; bras help to shape the breasts and hide the shape of the nipple. I don't think many women would be comfortable if it was obvious they were not wearing a bra in public. Society sexualises breasts so feeling exposed/vulnrable in this situation is not really a surprise . Also, let's remember she wasn't going to a beech she was in prison! 

Anonymous 09 July 21 10:49

Proud European FBPE 09 July 21 10:32

What a horrifying story, Brexit Britain at its worst. Although, these days, that seems to be its constant state of being. Gammons all the way down.

This would never happen in Europe where we are at ease with ourselves and have embraced the tolerant progressive values that still escape the British (English, really) and where we understand that women need to be treated with the same respect as ethnic minorities.

 

Well this looks genuine.

Meh 09 July 21 10:55

Err- this was in the EU, unless Ireland has Ir-exited overnight.

Anon 09 July 21 10:55

Anonymous @ 10:30 - I presume you are male. I cannot think of anything worse than not wearing a bra under my shirt - saggy boobs and nip prints.... just no. Trust me - normal underwired bras set off metal detectors. 

Nottelling 09 July 21 10:57

@ Proud European FBPE 09 July 21 10:32

 

Are you taking the p***? this happened in the Republic of Ireland. Which is still in the EU.

Extremely Proud European FBPE 09 July 21 11:13

See that this has really triggered the knuckledragging gammons.

Must really make them mad to see enlightened progressive Ireland throwing off the shackles of its colonial master, and now exceeding it in every single way.

 

When people of the world think of Ireland they now see it as the equal of the Scandinavian democracies like Sweden, Norway, Holland and Luxembourg. A moral exemplar to be looked up to and emulated.

They see Brexit Britain as the equal of Somalia and North Korea.

Anon 09 July 21 11:44

Extremely Proud European FBPE you really need to drag your knuckles to pick up a pair of spectacles so you can actually read the article. The incident happened in an EU country and has nothing whatsoever to do with the UK. However, if you are an example of a typical proud European, the UK has made the right decision to leave the EU. 

ShootyOriginal 09 July 21 12:03

Don't feed the (admittedly well-composed) Troll, dudes.

Warren 09 July 21 14:06

How pathetic.  If she genuinely doesn't understand the need to screen for metal items when entering prison etc she's obviously too stupid to be a lawyer.  This isn't #metoo, more just #me

Anonymous 09 July 21 14:21

ShootyOriginal 09 July 21 12:03

Don't feed the (admittedly well-composed) Troll, dudes.

Probably feeding itself given the state of the comments on this website recently.

Anonymous 09 July 21 15:40

I'll wait until the final report to judge.

We need to see if this happened as alleged and, if the request to remove the bra was made, whether it was due to security concerns or sexism.

Cavity search 09 July 21 21:57

Could have been worse.  

brawearer 13 July 21 00:58

Anonymous 09 July 21 10:30 "Also, "She tried to cover herself with her jacket for the remainder of the visit" - like, wasn't she wearing a shirt between bra and jacket? How did that article of clothing get lost during the madness of this episode?"

As stated in the comments above you are clearly a man and I will insert the word "ignorant". 

Yes, standard underwired bras can set off metal detectors. Yes, this doesn't happen every time, but think back to going through airport security - isn't it common for an outfit to set off the alarm sometimes and you not actually know why (if you have taken off watches/belts etc). Even if the prison officer was concerned that a solicitor (who was visiting a client, not a family member or friend) might have been smuggling a weapon in her bra, a more appropriate response would have been for a female officer to pat her down (over her clothes) in a private room. 

Asking her to remove her underwear is extremely degrading, and yes it is entirely reasonable of her to feel exposed even whilst wearing a shirt. Speaking generally here, most women in their work environment don't want to draw unnecessary attention to their breasts (yes, women are aware when men consciously or unconsciously look no matter how subtle they think they are). A bra hides the shape of your breasts and hides nip, it also feels like a bit of a protective layer. 

Even if she was able fully cover herself with her jacket, just knowing that at least one male officer knows you have removed your bra is enough to make anyone feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable. Not how you want to feel when you go to interview a client. 

Anonymous 13 July 21 10:57

Strip searches tend to make anyone 'uncomfortable', brawearer, whether they are male or female, and possibly including the guards. The question, if it happened as described, is whether it was necessary due to security concerns, or whether it was a result of sexism.

Anonymous 13 July 21 14:50

@15.40, I see Mr Evidence is back. Guess the #MeToo movement passed you by.

brawearer 14 July 21 05:11

I am sure strip searches are very uncomfortable for all parties involved.

However, this incident was not a strip search. She was asked to remove one item and apparently not allowed to put it back on for the duration of her visit. 

Anonymous 14 July 21 11:28

"a more appropriate response would have been for a female officer to pat her down (over her clothes) in a private room"

Glad to see that a qualified security expert has arrived to set us all right.

... and what a relief, one familiar with the facts of the matter and the resources available at the relevant location on the day in question.

Anonymous 14 July 21 15:33

@15.50 - I see Mrs No Evidence is back.

What does waiting to know all the facts before rushing to judgement have to do with #Metoo, or is this answering the question?

Anonymous 14 July 21 17:17

It was a strip search brawearer, the questions are whether it was necessary and if it was done properly. It isn't clear that she was told she couldn't put the bra back on.

Anonymous 15 July 21 19:11

Weirdos telling women how to feel.

Mind you, it was only in 1982 that women were allowed to stand at the bar in El Vinos, and they had to go to court to be able to do that.

It was only in the 1990s that the law recognised that possibility of a woman being raped by her husband.

And the mental processes by which men could think such things are reasonable still exists.

Anonymous 15 July 21 22:18

It could be that they're both in the wrong - she may have looked down her nose at the guard and this was his revenge. Hard to tell without knowing the fully story.

One thing for sure though, nobody will be raising the guards' concerns to the Taoiseach.

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