A huge number of candidates have a applied to work as prison officers at jails in Portlaoise and other parts of Ireland.
The Irish Prison Service has confirmed that some 2,500 men and women have submitted applications in what is the first major recruitment drive in many years.
The recruitment campaign began early in 2018 for prison officer and other posts. Nearly 300 prison posts and other jobs were advertised in early 2018. Most were prison officer positions.
Many retirements and a ban on recruitment led to a declined in officer numbers between 2008 and 2016.
The job specifications for the posts advertised said 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 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.
All recruit prison officers are deployed to initially to Mountjoy Prison in Dublin.
Extensive refurbishment work is underway at the Irish Prison Service training college in Portlaoise to pave the way for new recruits.