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Irish Prison Service.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 26 January 2005

Wednesday, 26 January 2005

Questions (626, 627, 628)

Joe Costello

Question:

690 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the amount of savings that were effected to date by the closure of the Curragh Prison and Fort Mitchell; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34161/04]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

Overall, overtime expenditure for the Irish Prison Service was reduced from €58.9 million in 2003 to approximately €45.5 million in 2004. This saving can be attributed to a rigorous control of overtime in each institution. The overtime savings arising from the closure of Fort Mitchel and the Curragh places of detention, are also included in this figure.

It is difficult to quantify the precise savings related to the closure of the Curragh and Fort Mitchel. Staff who were redeployed from these prisons remain on the payroll. However, their redeployment has led to a reduction in overtime costs in the prisons to which they were redeployed and has contributed to the overall saving of approx. €13 million overtime in the Prison Service for 2004. In addition, savings were also achieved in the running costs of both institutions amounting to approximately €1.4 million.

Joe Costello

Question:

691 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the daily average number of prisoners in each of the State prisons and institutions; the capacity of each of these institutions; the number of prison staff in each institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34162/04]

View answer

The latest approved figures relating to the average number of prisoners in each of the State prisons and institutions are contained in the annual report for 2003 which was published recently. For ease of reference, these are set out in the following table:

Institution

Daily Average

Bed Capacity (as at 1 June 2003)

Mountjoy Prison

460

466

Dóchas Centre

81

70

St. Patrick’s Institution

188

197

Cork Prison

268

270

Limerick Prison (Male)

169

168

Limerick Prison (Female)

16

16

Castlerea Prison

195

182

Cloverhill Prison

375

406

Wheatfield Prison

375

378

Portlaoise Prison

128

203

Arbour Hill Prison

138

139

Fort Mitchel*

94

102

The Training Unit

86

94

The Curragh*

98

94

Midlands Prison

384

515

Loughan House

71

85

Shelton Abbey

50

56

Total

3,176

3,441

*The Deputy will be aware that Fort Mitchel was "mothballed" on 10 February 2004 and the Curragh was "mothballed" on 20 January 2004. A small cohort of staff is assigned to Fort Mitchel and the Curragh for security reasons and the need to carry out essential maintenance.
The second part of the Deputy's question relates to the number of prison staff serving in each institution. The following table provides figures as at the end of December 2004.

Institution

Staff

Mountjoy Prison

513.47**

Midlands Prison

393.5**

Cloverhill Prison

372.33**

Wheatfield Prison

316

Portlaoise Prison

310.38**

Cork Prison

263.38**

Limerick Prison

219.42**

St. Patrick’s Institution

178.88**

Castlerea Prison

163.38**

Arbour Hill Prison

116.31**

Dóchas Centre

90.58**

Fort Mitchel

13.50**

The Curragh

11.44**

Training Unit

74.32**

Loughan House

43.42**

Shelton Abbey

37.76**

Total

3,118.07***

**Please note the information supplied reflects the position regarding "whole-time equivalents", that is, the number of whole-time posts filled in the service. For example, where two staff members are each employed for 50% of the normal working hours, they are counted as one full-time equivalent. One part-time staff member working for 50% of normal working hours, for example, week on, week off, is counted as 0.5 whole-time equivalent. One part-time staff member working for 80% of normal working hours, for example, a four day week, is counted as 0.8 whole-time equivalent. Similarly, staff employed on an hourly basis are counted on apro-rata basis — for example, a doctor employed for 15 hours per week is counted as 0.39 whole-time equivalent.
***This figure includes civilian staff such as chaplains, cooks and doctors who are in the employ of the Prison Service. Psychologists, teachers and the library service are not included in the figures.

Joe Costello

Question:

692 Mr. Costello asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the state of negotiations with the Prison Officers Association on the industrial dispute on overtime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [34163/04]

View answer

The Deputy will be aware that following extensive negotiations between the Irish Prison Service and the Prison Officers Association, a limited number of financial issues were the subject of a referral to arbitration, the hearings of which took place on 22 October and 1 November 2004. The arbitrator released his findings on Monday, 24 January 2005 and officials of the Irish Prison Service were engaged in further discussions with the Prison Officers Association at the Labour Relations Commission yesterday, Tuesday, 25 January 2005. Discussions are not yet concluded.

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