Friday 16th June 2017



In his first public engagement as Minister for Justice and Equality, today (Friday) Minister Charlie Flanagan visited the Irish Prison Service (IPS) Training College in Portlaoise and addressed 17 Recruit Prison Officers in advance of their formal Passing Out ceremony this afternoon.

The class is the first Recruit Prison Officer class to leave the IPS College since October 2011 and is the first of up to 80 Recruit Prison Officer that will complete training this year.

Minister Flanagan said:

“I am delighted to carry out my first official engagement as Minister for Justice and Equality here at the Irish Prison Service Training College in Portlaoise to mark a very special day in the lives of the new recruits and a proud day for their families and loved ones.

“This is also an important day for the Irish Prison Service, now recruiting again after some difficult years during our deep recession.”

The Minister also viewed the refurbishment work underway at the college and presented medals to a number of prison officers in recognition of their years of dedicated service.

Addressing the new prison officers, Minister Flanagan congratulated them saying that it was a hugely important day for you, for your families and for the Irish Prison Service”.

The Minister noted the challenging and rewarding role of prison staff saying that the Service was “not defined by walls, locks and bars but by the men and women who make up its ranks. While it is your role to enhance public safety by holding prisoners securely and by providing care and rehabilitation, treating people with dignity and respect should always be a core aim. You will play a special role on behalf of society and will have the opportunity to change the lives of many people who will look to you for help, support and an opportunity to change.”

The Minister said that the unique role of a Prison Officer required a number of key competencies “The ability to direct others, to support others, conscientiousness, adaptability, and communications are all key competencies. However you will also need resilience. Prison Officers have to work in a potentially stressful environment, encountering conflict and distress and you will need to be able to manage you own stress and emotions” he said. The Minister added that the Irish Prison Service would provide the staff with the support and skills to help them meet the challenges and maintain good physical and mental health.

Minister Flanagan also met with the Director General of the Prison Service, Michael Donnellan and the Governor of the College, David Clarke.



For further information contact

Press Officer

Irish Prison Service

T.         043 3335203

M.        087 6674284



Note for Editors

The 12-week training programme completed by Recruit Prison Officers in the IPS College including practical experience conducted in the Midlands Prison, Arbour Hill, Dóchas Centre and Shelton Abbey. This represented the completion of Semester 1 of the new Higher Certificate in Custodial Care (HCCC) which is a bespoke 2-year programme designed, developed and delivered by the Irish Prison Service and Waterford Institute of Technology.

All Recruit Prison Officer must complete the HCCC in order to be confirmed as Prison Officers.

The HCCC asks questions

What does it mean to be a Prison Officer?

What does being a prisoner mean?

How will a Recruit manage their professional practice?

How does a Recruit relate professionally to those around them; colleagues, society and prisoners?

How does the professionalism of the Recruit contribute to society?


The ethos for the HCCC is that “Every contact counts” – every time that a prison officer interacts with a person in custody it provides an opportunity to address the issues which have resulted in their committal to prison.


Semester 1.

Learning to Learn

Foundations of Practice, Conflict & Crisis Management


Semester 2

Custodial Care Policy and Practice (CCP&P)

Equality, Diversity and Cultural and Social Awareness (EDCSA)

Workplace Reflective Practice Project I (WRPPI)


Semester 3

Ethical Dimensions to Custodial Care  (EDCC)

Contemporary Healthcare Issues in Ireland (CHII)

Introduction to Social Psychology (ISP)


Semester 4

Human Rights (HR)

Criminal Justice, Criminology and Penology (CJC&P)

Workplace Reflective Practice Project II (WRPPII)