Recruitment of prison officers to get underway in autumn.
Nearly 300 prison officers posts and other jobs at prisons in Portlaoise and other jails and services run by the Irish Prison Service are set to be advertised later this year.
It is reported that 288 prison service jobs are to be advertised in the autumn.This would be a follow through on a commitment made last year that up to 400 new staff are to be recruited.
The recruitment drive is being carried out in response to extensive retirement and and the ban on recruitment between 2011 and 2016. Figures reported by RTÉ News show prison grades fell from 3,080 in 2016 to 3028 this year - 122 short of the optimum 3,150.
In 2016 there were 2,048 officers. Despite the hiring of 85 recruits last year, there were 1,906 prison officers at the end of January 2017. Nearly 250 officers have retired over the past two years. There have also been over 100 resignations since 2016.
RTÉ reports that retired officers were hired back on six-month contracts and that 17 such officers are still employed.
New notices on the Irish Prison Service and Public Jobs websites invites applications from suitably qualified persons who wish to be considered for inclusion on a panel from which vacancies for Recruit Prison Officer in the Dublin area only. The closing date for applications: 3pm, 22nd February 2018
The job specifications for these posts say the basic hours of work 2,035 hours per year on an average 39 hour week (on a 12 hour shift pattern). A Recruit Prison Officer will have a 7 day week liability including night duties, every second weekend and some public holidays and over festive seasons.
Recruit Prison Officers will also be required to work Additional Hours (to a maximum of 360 per annum) which will attract
As of 1 January 2018 the following salary scale applies to Recruit Prison Officers: PPC €28,690, €30,113, normal max €32,941.00
A different pay scale may apply if the individual has previously worked in the Public Service. Entry will be at the minimum point of the pay scale.
Work on Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and nights attract premium payments. Recruit Prison Officers will also receive other allowances e.g. Operational Allowance (8% of annual salary). The allocation of up to 360 additional hours will attract further premium payments.
The rate of remuneration may be adjusted from time to time in line with Government policy
The annual leave allowance is 160 hours (20 days) per year.
Phase 1 of training involves three modules delivered over an intensive 12 week period in the in the Irish Prison
Service College in Portlaoise for the initial 6 weeks and the Irish Prison Service College Dublin for the subsequent 6 weeks.
The Leinster Express reported last August that 400 prison officers over the next three years.
"The IPSC will continue to remain open to train new prison officers with the college intending to train up to 400 Prison Officers over the next three years," the prison service told the Leinster Express at the time.
June 2017 marked the first time since 2011 that a class of new recruit Prison Officers graduated from the collage since October 2011. Up to 80 Officer that will complete training last year in Portlaoise.
Extensive refurbishment work is underway at the Irish Prison Service training college in Portlaoise to pave the way for new recruits.