Minister thanks Prison Staff and all Uniformed Services for their work during the year and in particular over the Christmas period
Minister highlights continuing improvements in the Prison System


18 December 2017


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today (Monday) visited Portlaoise Prison and the Midlands Prisons to meet staff before Christmas.
Minister Flanagan said it was important to take the opportunity to acknowledge the work done by staff of the Irish Prisons Service (IPS) and all uniformed services throughout the year and, in particular, over the Christmas period. The Minister told staff: "I fully recognise the sacrifice you and your colleagues across the uniformed services make by reporting for duty over the festive period.  Your hard work and dedication is especially appreciated by myself, my colleagues in Government, your Governors, the Director General and the wider community you serve.  Your public service is greatly valued." 
The Minister, accompanied by the Director of the Irish Prison Service Mr Michael Donnellan, was briefed on the day-to-day operation of both prisons and the continuing improvements in the prison system.  The Minister commended in particular Governor Ethel Gavin, the Campus Governor of the Portlaoise Prison Campus which includes both Portlaoise Prison and the Midlands Prison and her staff for their dedicated work in managing more than 25% of the total prisoner population (Portlaoise Prison has 231 prisoners and Midlands Prison has 833).  Portlaoise Prison is a high security prison while the Midlands Prison is the largest prison in the State.
The Minister noted the wide range of improvements underway in the prison service and pledged the reform process would continue. He said: “I commend the Irish Prison Service for its continued implementation of the Government policy of rehabilitative initiatives, in conjunction with the Probation Service, the aim of which is to protect the public and make Irish society safer.  Much of the important work undertaken by the Prison Service and the Probation Service goes unseen but it is vital work and greatly valued by me as the Minister for Justice and Equality.”
Examples of the continuing improvements in the prison system include: