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Last Updated: Monday, 31 December 2007, 12:36 GMT
NI sniffer dogs loaned to prisons
A sniffer dog
Passive drug dogs are used to detect drugs on people
Sniffer dogs from Northern Ireland are set to be used to root out drugs in Ireland's prisons.

The NI Prison Service has agreed to supply several "passive drug dogs" which will operate in the Republic's jails.

Last month, senior officers from the Irish Prison Service visited the prison service training college at Millisle in County Down to inspect facilities.

Irish officers will be trained there as part of a six-week programme.

During training, they will be paired with the dog with which they will work.

A Northern Ireland Prison Service spokesman said it would be reimbursed for the training costs.

Passive drug dogs are used to detect drugs on people entering and leaving prisons.

The agreement will allow the Irish Prison Service to progress plans to set up a special dog unit, aimed at tackling the supply of drugs to prisoners.

The Irish government strategy will mean more than 30 dog-handling teams for Ireland's prisons - with eight of those located at Mountjoy in Dublin, six in the Wheatfield/Cloverhill in the west of the city and six in Portlaoise/Midlands.

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