Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Justice and Equality
Irish Prison Service
490. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to instances in which the Irish Prison Service is not facilitating remote work for employees who are high risk due to underlying medical conditions despite recommendations from the medical adviser of the service; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [44604/20]
I am advised by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that all prison based employees of the Irish Prison Service are essential workers and are required to attend for duty during the Covid 19 pandemic. Due to the nature of the role played by prison service staff, the service they provide cannot be done from home.
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has authorised Covid-19 Special Leave with pay for employees, but only in very specific circumstances; namely when an employee is displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and is required to self-isolate or has had a positive test.
I am advised that the Irish Prison Service has identified workplace modifications and alternative duties for high-risk employees, which reduce the risk to the employees concerned.
The Prison Service will continue to engage with individual staff members on this matter within the parameters outlined above.