CEISTEANNA—QUESTIONS. - REMUNERATION OF PRISON OFFICIALS WHO WORK AT THEIR TRADES.

To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether it is a fact that a number of officers, male and female, in the Prisons Service, are employed working at their different trades in the prisons, without receiving any additional remuneration; whether, during the British regime, those officers were in receipt of 10s. per week extra; whether the work of those officers means a big saving for the State, by reason of the fact, that their pay, bonus and emoluments are much less than Trades Union wages in the outside world; whether applications have been made for payment of this allowance to officers so employed, and if so, will he now say if it is the intention to sanction such payment, and when the sanction will be given.

Most of the officers employed at their trades in the Prisons Service receive additional remuneration either as Engineers with a special scale of pay, Artisan Warders with a special allowance of 10s. a week, or Trade Instructors with allowances at a variable rate up to £28 per annum. In a few instances men and women employed on trial as Trade Instructors receive no allowance and are regarded as qualifying for the grant of the allowance as vacancies arise. Owing to the extensive repairs necessary in recent years due to damage caused by prisoners the Prisons Board in August, 1920, obtained the approval of the British Treasury for the employment of not more than thirty additional Temporary Warders with an allowance of 10s. per week when employed as Artisan Warders to carry out structural repairs and alterations. This sanction was renewed in July, 1921, but was limited to the financial year ended 31st March, 1922. In March, 1922, the Prisons Board asked the British Treasury for authority to continue the 10s. allowance to temporary warders employed as Artisans and also for sanction for the payment of a similar allowance to permanent warders when fully employed at their trades. No decision was, however, received and accordingly the payment of the 10s. allowance to temporary warders employed as Artisans ceased on 31st March, 1922. The employment of prison officers as Artisans enables the Prisons Board to carry out certain work economically and the system has certainly effected a saving. Representations have been made to this Ministry by the Prisons Board on behalf of the officers concerned. The matter is at present under consideration and the Minister of Finance is being asked to sanction certain recommendations. The question will be settled in the course of a few days.