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March 21, 2008

CONTACT: Peter Van Delft
(617) 961-6682


Recently, Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea J. Cabral hosted members of the Irish Prison Service Pipe Band (IPSPB) for St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

Traveling from their hometown of Dublin, Ireland, the group of seventy–two Irish nationals flew to Boston to join Sheriff Cabral and members of the Department as they participated in the 108th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston.

One of the oldest public institutions in Ireland, the Irish Prison Service dates back to 1854. The IPS, according to literature, works with a three–man board – the Convict Prisons Board – to “manage convict prisons in Ireland. The mission of the Irish Prison Service is to provide safe, secure and humane custody for people who are sent to prison.”

Meeting with Sheriff Cabral at the Suffolk County House of Correction (HOC) on Friday, March 14th, members of the group exchanged information and compared notes on some of the similarities and differences between the Irish Prison Service and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department.

Before taking a tour of the facility, the group presented Sheriff Cabral with a commemorative bagpiper statuette, and several IPSPB-themed artifacts.

At the conclusion of the tour Sean Lennon, Governor of Dublin’s Wheatfield Prison, gave his impressions about the HOC and the Sheriff’s Department as a whole.

“The amount of discipline that your officers and staff have absolutely amazed me,” said Lennon. “The courtesy and respect with which we were treated – and I’m including the inmates as well as the staff – was impressive.”

“As we have in our system,” Lennon continued, “you have many programs available to prisoners that can help them to better themselves with skills and education which can help them to remain in society once they’re released.”

Continuing their visit with members of the Department on the following Saturday, the IPSPB was feted at the annual Jail Officer’s and Employees Association of Suffolk County (JOEASC) St. Patrick’s Day Dinner at Dorchester’s Florian Hall, where the group performed on bagpipes, guitars, and other instruments before closing the night as the impromptu guests of a local wedding party.

On Sunday, IPSPB members gathered on West Broadway and Dorchester Avenue before taking their position with Sheriff Cabral and members of the Department to march the parade route, where they often encountered loud applause and shouts of support.

Participating members of the Irish Prison Service Pipe Band included: Pipe Major Mick Deegan; Pipe Sergeant Pat Cosgrove; Drum Major Tom Broaders; Drum Sergeant Mark Small; Drummers Eddie Barrett, Mo Johnston, Eavan Harrington (Youth Facility Officer), Susanne Nolan, and John Dooley; Bag Pipers Kevin O’Neill, Jack Patterson, Tom Durkan, Willie Conlon, Eugene Conlon, Ollie Maguire, and Bernard Quinn; and on Flags Joe Byrne, Lorraine Small (Youth Facilities Officer), Paddy Gavigan, and Liam Brown.

Following the parade, Pipe Major Mick Deegan spoke about the group’s Boston experience.

“It was an absolute blast,” Deegan said. “This is among the finest parades we’ve been to and everyone from the Sheriff’s Department has been just wonderful. We definitely would love to come back sometime and do it again.”

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