Irish Penal Reform Trust

'Jail Guitar Doors' initiative in Mountjoy Prison

14th October 2014

Three of the most prized guitars from the late Philip Chevron’s collection were presented to music students inmates in Mountjoy Prison by Billy Bragg in the first JAIL GUITAR DOORS initiative in the Republic of Ireland on 14th October, 2014.

The late Radiators from Space and Pogues guitarist Phil Chevron's final wishes prior to his death had stated that the presentation be made in an intimate ceremony at Mountjoy. The initiative was welcomed by the Director General Irish Prison Service, Mr. Michael Donnellan, the Governer of Mountjoy, Mr. Brian Murphy as well as the personal support of President Michael D. Higgins.

Governor Murphy commented that:

“Music and the arts play a very important role in the rehabilitation of prisoners and it enables them to address problems in a non-confrontational way. Music, as we know, has a redemptive quality and can act as catalyst for further engagement with the rehabilitative services available for prisoners in all our prison schools. The students in the Mountjoy Prison School have a long history of engagement in music and this donation may serve to inspire more of our offenders to get involved”

 Billy Bragg who presented the instruments said:

"Jail Guitar Doors believes that music can help offenders on the path to rehabilitation. Phillip and I spoke about how his guitar collection could make a contribution to this process. Thanks to his insightful donation, Jail Guitar Doors is able to take its first steps in Ireland, having provided guitars to over 50 prisons in the UK in the past seven years”.

Chevron’s sister, Deborah Blacoe, thanked all concerned for their efforts in realising her brother’s final wish:

"My brother Philip had many, many talents. He used all of them to the best of his ability during his lifetime. In his inherent sense of inclusivity, he now bequeaths his favourite guitars so that others may develop their talents, perhaps leading to new and rewarding opportunities."

hil Chevron guitars given to Mountjoy Prison inmates

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