Prison service allowance and overtime pay bill runs to €80 million

Conor Ganly

Reporter:

Conor Ganly

Prison portlaoise

Prison officers at the Midlands Prison Portlaoise.

An Irish Prison Service staff member received additional pay of more €65,600 and the annual pay bill for prisons in Portlaoise and elsewhere rose to more than €232 million which included €80 million in allowances and overtime, according to accounts examined in the Dáil recently.

Appropriation accounts compiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General for the Dáil Public Accounts Committee contains a breakdown of payroll finances for the latest audited year.

Staff numbers fell slightly to 3,186 by the end of 2017 but the total pay bill rose by just under €2 million to €232.5 million.

The basic pay bill was almost €137 million. This is inflated significantly by allowances and overtime payments, which are broken down in the accounts and total €79.329 million.

A total of €354,000 was paid out to cover higher, special or additional duties allowances. The bill for other allowances was more than €45 million. 

The cost of extra attendance and overtime rose to nearly €34 million with the employer's PRSI bill going up to nearly €16.5 million.

There were 64 recipients of higher special or additional duties. Of these, five employees were paid €10,000 or more on top of their basic pay. The highest individual payment in this category was almost €34,000 - three times bigger than the previous year.

A total of 2,952 staff were paid for extra attendance and overtime. Of these, 1,843 received €10,000 or more each. The highest individual payment for overtime was €38,773.

Shift and roster allowances were paid to 2,744 officers and staff. Some 629 staff each received €10,000 or more each of such payments. The highest single payment in this category was €23,716.

The miscellaneous category included 3,092 payments. Payments of least €10,000 each were paid to 217 staff members. The highest individual miscellaneous payment was €15,235.

There were 3,012 recipients of extra remuneration in more than one category. Payments of €10,000 or more were made to 2,809 staff. The highest individual payment to a staff member in more than one category was €65,602.

A total of 161 payroll overpayments amounting to €425,504 were identified. Plans were in place to recover nearly €300,000 by the end of 2017 in respect of 101 cases.

The net expenditure on superannuation and retired allowances was more than €52,580.

Nearly €100,000 was paid to 22 retired civil servants and almost €50,000 to 12 retired gardaí who were employed for specific duties during 2017

Net Irish Prison Service spending was almost €314 million in 2017.