Overall Winners 2015 Public Sector Magazine Award for their Contribution to the Prison Service on behalf of the State
The Prison Officers’ Association is for the second year running, the overall winners of the Public Sector Magazine Award for their contribution to the Prison Service on behalf of the State.
President of the Prison Officers Association Mr. Stephen Delaney says, it is a great honor to again for the second year running receive such recognition for the work of the Association and more importantly recognition of the contribution of all our members who work in our Prisons on behalf of the State
Stephen says it is heartening to gain such recognition because not many people are too concerned with what happens behind the walls of our prisons.
Our first award, which we received in 2014, was against a background of economic upheaval and was achieved in a challenging industrial relations climate. This year is no different and while there appears to be some relief on the horizon in terms of modest pay restoration under the terms of the Landsdowne Road Agreement we as an organization and work force continue to face many difficult challenges.
Stephen outlines “unfortunately today, the threat of violence and accusations of mistreatment for Prison Officers is part of the normal working day. In more recent times numerous Prison Officers have been the subject of vicious assaults in the performance of their duties by convicts who act with impunity.
It is for this reason why we have called on our Minister to enact legislation for the purpose of introducing consecutive sentencing for prisoners who assault Prison Officers in the performance of their duties. Prison Officers must be supported and protected by the authorities in the performance of their duties.“For the future” Stephen states, “It is vital that the Minister and Prison Service Officials recognize that in terms of funding and recruitment it is essential that the Prison Service is supported sufficiently”.
Politicians see no votes in prisons but they should realize that without investment in our Prison Service; we will all pay a much higher societal price in the short and long term. You can only generate so much by way of efficiencies before you destroy the very fabric of the service we are supposedly developing.
Stephen says. “The POA is essentially what its members want it to be – a strong, respected and progressive union. We will continue to represent over 3,250 prison staff for the sole purpose of protecting and enhancing the working conditions of our members which includes all ranks up to and including the rank of Deputy Governor.
We will endeavor to ensure the management and staff side utilize the State’s industrial relations machinery for the purpose of dispute resolution as failure to do so will only result in confrontation and a negative workplace which yields no benefit for either party.
For the future, we of course share the guarded optimism of our fellow Trade Unions and hope we are returning to prosperity but with some hard earned lessons which will never be forgotten that will I am sure temper that optimism somewhat.
As President of the Prison Officers Association I am delighted to accept this award on behalf of all our members who work so hard and make such a vital contribution to our society.”