Latest: Morrow seeks clairty over McCollum prison transfer costs

Lord Morrow
Lord Morrow

DUP Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA Lord Morrow has written to the Justice Minister seeking clarification about who is meeting the cost of Michaella McCollum serving the rest of her sentence in Northern Ireland.

Lord Morrow made the comments today after it was revealed that the Dungannon drug mule’s repatriation to Northern Ireland had been given the green light by the Head of Prison Authorities here.

Commenting Lord Morrow said, “The Justice Minister has previously said the average cost of housing a prisoner in Northern Ireland is £77,000 per year. This means that if Miss McCollum is transferred to Northern Ireland, then someone will have to pay the annual associated cost.

“Having been sentenced to almost seven years imprisonment in 2013 for smuggling €1.9m of cocaine, there is still a considerable portion of the sentence to be served. Will the Peruvian government make a contribution or will the Irish government cover the cost as Michaella is an Irish passport holder?

“Whilst I understand the prisoner’s family will refund the transfer costs from Peru to Northern Ireland, I have written to the Justice Minister to ascertain who will pay for the cost of housing Miss McCollum within the Northern Ireland prison service.

“I understand the families’ concerns about conditions in the Peruvian prison however at time when public finances are under pressure, we need to establish facts. These are legitimate questions which many Northern Ireland citizens will be asking.”