Written Answers. - Prison Staff.

David Stanton

Ceist:

332 Mr. Stanton asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the prisons and places of detention here; the number of prison officers attached to each; the establishment of prison officers required in each; the surplus, or shortage of prison officers in each prison; his plans to address any imbalance; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19474/03]

For security reasons, it is not possible to provide the Deputy with a breakdown of staffing levels in each prison institution. I can, however, confirm that there is currently a total of 16 prisons and places of detention administered by the Irish Prison Service. These institutions are: Mountjoy Prison, the Dochas Centre – Mountjoy Female Prison, St. Patrick's Institution, the Training Unit Place of Detention, the Curragh Place of Detention, Castlerea Prison, Arbour Hill Prison, Wheatfield Prison, Cloverhill Prison, Cork Prison, Fort Mitchel Place of Detention, Shelton Abbey Place of Detention, Limerick Prison, Portlaoise Prison, Loughan House Place of Detention and the Midlands Prison.

The total number of staff serving in all 16 institutions is currently 3,243.5. The authorised staffing complement for these institutions is 3,243. The excess of staff serving over the authorised complement for the institutions overall reflect the recent closure of Shanganagh Castle, with the subsequent reduction of the authorised staffing numbers and the transfer of surplus staff from Shanganagh to other institutions.

I would also refer the Deputy to my recent reply to Parliamentary Question No. 49 of 19 June last concerning my proposals for the ending of overtime in the prison service and my intentions in terms of negotiations with the Prison Officers' Association. These negotiations are focused on the operation of the proposed new annual hours system, the detailed attendance and payment arrangements which will need to be put in place and encompass proposals regarding task and staffing levels. In that context, the Prison Officers' Association have been issued with details of the tasks, hours and staffing envisaged for each institution under the proposed new system for their consideration. The Deputy will appreciate that this matter is the subject of ongoing negotiations with staff representatives and accordingly it would not be appropriate for me to go into further detail at this point in time.