Prison officer ‘salary suspended after making a protected disclosure’

Pac to examine claim the officer was ‘penalised’ and ‘isolated’ by prison service

The committee said the officer had his salary suspended after he submitted a protected disclosure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

The committee said the officer had his salary suspended after he submitted a protected disclosure. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

 

An Irish Service prison officer has had his salary suspended after he made a protected disclosure, according the Public Accounts Committee.

The committee said the officer had his salary suspended after he submitted a protected disclosure about the use of resources within one of the country’s prisons.

“You’ve a situation in Irish prisons where Irish guards who do their jobs in finding mobile phones and drugs are the ones who get penalised. It looks bad on that prison when these things are found, that is insane,” Labour TD Alan Kelly said.

Last year, Mr Justice William Early carried out a review of the officer’s complaints, and found the prison officer had been “penalised” and “isolated” by the prison service.

Despite this, the committee said the officer has had his salary suspended for a second time.

Mr Kelly said that because of this kind of treatment he did not believe “anyone would feel comfortable in the prison service in making a protected disclosure.

Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry said he was “concerned and upset” about this kind of treatment.

Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said the committee needed to look at it as “a systemic failure” because this is “not the first individual that has come forward about the prison service.”

Some members want to bring the prison service and the Department of Justice before them to examine the issue. The committee will schedule a special session next week to discuss the matter further.