Nurses have had to operate at the coalface in jails.
A Government TD who represents many prison staff in Laois has called on the Government to pay the Frontline pandemic bonus to nurses at jails in Portlaoise and elsewhere.
Laois Offaly Fine Gael TD, Charlie Flanagan, wants Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, to authorise payment of the €1,000 reward to Irish Prison Service frontline nurses.
“Over the period of the pandemic, while all nurses worked above and beyond the call of duty, nurses in the Irish Prison Service played a huge role in assisting the national Covid-19 effort.
“Prison nurses should be included in the bonus payment and I have asked Minister McGrath to ensure all prison nurses will get the much deserved bonus payment,” he said.
The Irish Prison Service says a total 738 prisoners have tested positive for Covid-19 up to the end of January. Many staff have also contracted the virus.
During the Delta and Omicron waves, the Service said it managed 14 Covid-19 outbreaks in prisons since November 2021. All were successfully stood down.
One of the biggest outbreaks was managed in Portlaoise in 2022 where 175 prisoners from A, C and E Division in Midlands Prison have tested positive for Covid-19 in January.
The IPS said that at all points, Outbreak Control Teams (OCT) were guided by advice from local Public Health clinicians and meetings with Public Health are convened at regular intervals throughout the course of each outbreak.
The IPS was internationally recognised and praised for its management of the virus after the first wave in 2020.
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