75. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his plans to improve the wages and conditions of nursing staff in prisons; if he will address the anomaly in which they have not benefitted from recent improvements awarded to general nursing staff; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21246/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that it employs 133 nursing grades and a further 13 nurse managers.
Like all civil and public servants, the terms and conditions of nurses in the Irish Prison Service, including that of remuneration, is a matter of Public Service pay policy, which is overseen by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
I am advised that the provisions of the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018 – 2020 apply to those unions who have confirmed in writing to the Workplace Relations Commission that they agree to be bound by the terms of the agreement and that this includes the Irish Prison Officers Association. The Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017 provides for a range of benefits for those public servants who have accepted and comply with the terms of the PSSA including accelerated and more advantageous phased series of pay increases up to October 2020 as part of the unwinding of FEMPI legislation. Nursing grades within the Irish Prison Service are encompassed within the PSSA and the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act. The parties to the PSSA also agree (under clause 8.3) that “there will be no cost-increasing claims for improvements in pay or conditions of employment by trade unions, Garda and Defence Force associations, or employees during the period of the Agreement.”