Some 200 Irish Prison Service staff have clocked up more than €134,000 in mobile phone bills over the past five years.
Official figures also show that the total cost from 2012 to 2016 was more than €670,000 and 2015 was the most expensive year at €155,331. The average annual total bill is €134,504.
The total bill mobile phone costs (including monthly usage bills and handsets) from 2012 are as follows:
2017 (Year to date) €14,700
The data was supplied to Tommy Broughan TD in the Dáil aby Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality Frances Fitzgerald Frances Fitzgerald. He asked about the number of Irish Prison Service personnel provided with mobile telephones; the cost of same in each of the years 2012 to 2016 and to date in 2017; and if she would make a statement on the matter.
In her written reply, the Tánaiste said that the Irish Prison Service currently has a tender with Vodafone for the supply of mobile phones to Irish Prison Service staff for 'official business use'.
She said this contract was awarded after a 'competitive tender'. She added that 'an approved business case' must be submitted by the staff member for approval by Irish Prison Service ICT Division before a mobile phone is assigned to a member of staff.
"I am advised by the Irish Prison service that 217 staff members currently have an official mobile phone for business purposes," she said.
Ireland's biggest prison complex is located in Portlaoise and the Irish Prison Service HQ is located in Longford.