479. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Justice her plans to publish the reports received by her Department from prison chaplains in 2020; her plans to publish an annual report on such reports; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44363/20]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): The Irish Prison Service is committed to the provision of safe, secure and humane custody for people who are sent to prison in this State. The Deputy will be aware of their outstanding record of safeguarding those in their care during the current pandemic.
The Chaplaincy Service is independent and professional, while working as part of the prison multi-disciplinary team reporting to the Governor. Chaplains have a crucial supporting role in prison life by providing pastoral and spiritual care to any prisoners who wish to avail of the service.
Each Chaplain is required under Rule 119(1) of the Prison Rules to submit a report to the Director General and to the Governor on matters relating to the provision of chaplaincy services in the preceding year.
I understand that the Irish Prison Service recently published the full suite of Chaplains' reports for 2019 on their website www.irishprisons.ie and that going forward, all future Chaplains' reports will be published that website.
As the Deputy may appreciate, I am regularly briefed by officials on a range of matters relating to the operation of the Prison Service and these reports will contribute to the ongoing engagement on prisons matters.