News & Events

Keep up to date with ICPO news and events here. For media queries please contact the Catholic Communications Office on +353 1 505 3017.

ICPO receives Gerry Ryan Community Award for work with Irish in Britain

11th March 2019


The Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (ICPO) is honoured to receive the Gerry Ryan Community Award 2019. This award is given to an organisation each year in recognition of their contribution to the Irish community in Britain.

The award was established by the Labour Party Irish Society following the passing of the long-standing Croydon Labour Councillor Gerry Ryan in 2015. Councillor Ryan was a founding member of the Labour Party Irish Society and the award is to recognise others, like Gerry, who have done so much for the Irish in Britain.

The ICPO has been working on behalf of Irish citizens in prison overseas and their families for 34 years and provides support and information to around 1200 Irish prisoners abroad every year. The ICPO was established by the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference in 1985 in response to serious concerns regarding the number of Irish men and women in British prisons. Today the ICPO office in London works with almost 1000 Irish prisoners.

The ICPO was represented at the reception in Westminster by Breda Power – London Prisons Case Manager; Liz Power – Senior Caseworker; and Ellena Costello – Project Officer with the Traveller Equality Project. The award was presented by Derry Girls star Siobhan McSweeney. Following the presentation of the award, Breda Power spoke about the work of the ICPO in Britain and across the world. Ms Power addressed some of the current challenges facing the ICPO in their work in Britain, including:

“A growing prison population that has more than doubled in 20 years… A ‘let’s get tough on crime’ mind-set and a skewed view of prisons being ‘holiday camps’, all of which serves to feed into the idea that not only is it ok to imprison those most in need but also we should throw away the key.

Ms Power continued:

It has been said, ‘the true measure of any society can be found in how it treats its most vulnerable’.  ICPO works with some of the most vulnerable and marginalised Irish men and women in our society today.  We are absolutely delighted to receive this award commemorating Gerry Ryan and his life’s work.”

The event was hosted by Lord Kennedy of Southwark, honorary president of the Labour Party Irish Society, and attended by approximately 80 people, including MPs, members of the House of Lords and members of the Labour Party Irish Society.

Breda Power receiving Gerry Ryan Community Award 2019 from Siobhan McSweeney

Former prisoner speaks of his time in Kenyan prison

4th January 2019



Irish man, who spent 5 years in prison in Kenya, speaks to the Irish Times about his experience. Read the article here.

He highlights the role ICPO can play in supporting not just prisoners but their families too, and the difference consular assistance made to his case.


ICPO speaks to Oireachtas Committee on challenges facing ex-prisoners returning to Ireland

29th November 2018

ICPO Policy & Information Officer Ciara Kirrane outlined the challenges facing former prisoners returning to Ireland to the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Trade on 29th November 2018.

Watch the presentation to the Committee here (ICPO presentation starts at 42:40)

See the ICPO’s statement to the Committee here.

Read an Irish Times article here highlighting the challenges facing returning emigrants as outlined by ICPO, Crosscare Migrant Project and Safe Home Ireland.


Members of Committee on Foreign Affairs & Trade meet with representatives from ICPO, Crosscare Migrant Project and Safehome Ireland.

New laws needed to allow Irish prisoners abroad return home

Irish Prisoners in Australia get rare visit from Social Worker

Court of Appeal: Cuts to legal aid for prisoners are unlawful

Cuts to legal aid for prisoners are unlawful because they are inherently unfair, the Court of Appeal ruled on Monday 10th April  in its judgment on a legal challenge brought by the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prisoners’ Advice Service (PAS).

Address by President Michael D. Higgins to the ICPO 30th Anniversary Conference

Minister Flanagan highlights Government partnership with ICPO

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan, TD, delivered the closing address at the 30th Anniversary Conference of the Irish Council for Prisoners Overseas (I.C.P.O.) today (Tuesday).

In his remarks, Minister Flanagan paid tribute to the Council on their work:


Address by Nuala Kelly to the ICPO 30th Anniversary Conference

The Early Days of the ICPO

Nuala Kelly

Address by Fr. Jerry McFlynn to the ICPO 30th Anniversary Conference

The importance of a Pastoral Outreach to Prisoners Overseas

Fr Gerry McFlynn