Prison officers warn that major gangland figures are operating "from behind prison walls"

The Prison Officers' Association is calling for gang members to be isolated and kept apart from the general prison population

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File photo. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Prison Officers' Association has warned that criminal gangs are fully operational within our jails. 

The impact of recent gangland killings on our jail system is being discussed by prison officers at their annual conference in Athlone today.

There are fears the current wave of gangland crime in Dublin could result in further violence in Irish jails, once those responsible are imprisoned.

Officers are calling for those involved in gangland crime to be "isolated and kept apart from the general prison population".

Stephen Delaney, President of the Prison Officers Association, spoke to Newstalk Breakfast ahead of the association's conference.

"Major gangland figures are confined within our prisons, and they are today conducting operations from behind prison walls," he suggested.

He says that gang members are able to operate due to "visitors, mobile phones, undue influence on those around them, in terms of drugs, violence and other acts of intimidation".

Mr Delaney has also said "if we reduce the power of these gangs in prison we also restrict their capacity to control matters on the outside - so all of society will benefit".

Earlier this week, two people were gunned down on the streets of the capital as gardaí continue their investigation into drug related activity in the capital.

The latest shootings followed five gang-related deaths in the capital since the start of this year.