Press Statement from Prison Officers Association – Annual Delegate Conference Kilkenny, Thursday 5th May 2011
Minister Shatter told he now has a chance to make his mark on the Prison Service……………
Speaking at the POA Annual Delegate Conference in Kilkenny on reduced pay and conditions for prison officers and lack of funding for the service, Stephen Delaney, POA President said, “Minister (Shatter) you are no doubt aware of the actions of successive recent Governments, which have led to massive reductions in our pay and conditions of service. The Prison Service overall is on life support, strapped for funding and modernisation in many areas and places”.
“Through no fault of the Staff, the Service has been neglected in recent years and this must be addressed if we are to have a Prison system of which all of us can be proud. You now have a chance Minister to make your mark and rescue a Service, which once had the potential to be at the cutting edge and which now unfortunately is facing serious challenges”.
“As President I want to make it absolutely clear that from this day on we as an organisation, as a workforce of proud civil servants are taking no more. We will not accept any more pay cuts, we will not accept antiquated conditions, and we are certainly taking no more excuses or blame for the economic crisis, which we didn’t create”.
“Some people would say that the Prisons Service today is only a learning school for criminality and unfortunately there is some justification for such a negative view. All stakeholders must acknowledge the high level of recidification in the criminal system, we all must smell the mustard and realise, that all is not what it should be. If you don’t ensure that that there is ongoing investment in the service and its people – you will have a failed and flawed system”.
To see a situation recently where one person received a 3 million Euro annual salary from Government funds, is simply breathtaking – and then to see the Irish Prison Service withdraw a canteen service, which provided hot food for Prison Officers, is deplorable. Take back the 3 million and all such payments and leave Prison Officers alone.
Over the last two/three years Prison Officers have taken a reduction of income on average of about 15% by way of Pay Cuts, Pension Levies – before universal social charges and the like. All new Recruit Prison Officers now have the hardship of a further 10% reduction in salary and have much less favourable pension arrangements. It’s hard to imagine why any Government would not want to adequately reward young Prison Officers when we consider the vital and difficult work they do on behalf of society and the State”
The POA Conference runs for two days, Thursday 5th and Friday 6th May in the Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny