384. Deputy Seán Haughey asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the estimated cost in 2019 of recruiting an extra 180 prison officers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44688/18]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the full year cost of employing 180 new Recruit Prison Officers in 2019 would be €8.5m. However given that recruitment in 2019 will be staggered over the course of the year the actual cost will be somewhat less than this figure and will depend on the varying start dates of new recruits.
The recruitment of Recruit Prison Officers by the Irish Prison Service has been ongoing since 2017 and has regard to such factors as service needs and retirement levels.
It is anticipated that a similar level of annual recruitment will be necessary over the coming years in order for the Irish Prison Service to have sufficient numbers of Prison Officers to provide safe and secure custody for those in our care.