Prison cost cuts risk lives

Cost cutting which Prison Officers were forced to agree to under the Public Service Agreements could now be putting their lives at risk.

Cost cutting which Prison Officers were forced to agree to under the Public Service Agreements could now be putting their lives at risk.

Three prison officers were savagely attacked in the Midlands Prison last weekend, just weeks after two prison officers received serious injuries in Tallaght Hospital when a prisoner escaped.

It is understood that lots of other incidents are going unreported.

The prison officers have made savings of over €30million since the implementation of the Croke Park agreement in 2010, but this is now causing a rift between the prison management and the POA.

The Irish Prison Service claim that the policies which have given rise to staff reductions were all implemented by IPS management following significant consultation with staff representatives.

The Deputy General Secretary of the POA, Jim Mitchell said this latest incident raised concerns for his members about a reasonable expectation of ‘safety at work’ and the categorisation of prisoners.

Senator John Whelan said prison officers have approached him asking: “Will it take a fatality before our concerns are taken seriously.”

He said officers are backed into a corner after €33m worth of cutbacks.