The recruitment of new prison officers will allow existing officers to transfer back to work at the Portlaoise prison complex, according to the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan.
The Laois Fine Gael TD confirmed the welcomed the opening of the 2018 campaign for the position of Recruit Prison Officer in the Irish Prison Service.
He confirmed that the competition is being run by the Public Appointments Service and the Irish Prison Service. The Irish Prison Service intends to recruit up to 288 Recruit Prison Officers in 2018. The competition is now open and the deadline for applications is 3pm on 22nd February 2018.
"I am delighted that the 2018 Recruit Prison Officer competition has now opened giving people the opportunity to join this very important frontline service. Being a Prison Officer is a very challenging and rewarding role. Prison Officers are required to undertake increasingly complex and diverse tasks, balancing the traditional security focussed role with a renewed emphasis on facilitating rehabilitation.
"Prison staff have the potential and the skills to positively influence prisoners to engage with the many services available in our prisons including training, education and addiction services and as a result our communities are safer" said the Minister .
"he positions to be filled by the Irish Prison Service will bring a wealth of new talent into our prisons especially in Dublin where they are to be based.
"In addition, their appointment will facilitate existing staff who have been based in Dublin and commuting to finally get a transfer to positions closer to their homes including the many prison staff from the midlands who have been looking to transfer back to the Portlaoise Campus. This will be a great benefit to our current prison staff, their families and their communities," he said.
The Minister cautioned that working as a Prison Officer is not for everyone and that while the work is challenging candidates must have the capacity to relate and to engage with prisoners many whose life stories are unique and troubled with histories of mental illness, behavioural issues and addictions.
He said the individuals who have the capacity to relate to and engage with prisoners, act with professionalism, tolerance and humanity and the ability to role model positive social behaviour would be suitable candidates. He added that they must also have the ability to think on their feet in dealing with situations which require security and control.