Prison Officers Association warns of industrial action after recent incidents

NewsBy Neil Fetherston
Several officers have been injured recently
Several officers have been injured recently

The Deputy General Secretary of the Prison Officers Association has warned that industrial action is likely unless a number of ongoing issues are resolved.

Speaking after two attacks at Midlands Prison in Portlaoise in which two prison officers were injured, Jim Mitchell said one of the incidents occurred in a section of the prison where an enhanced regime is place for prisoners who show good behaviour. 

He told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that the incident showed that the categorisation of this prisoner was not "proper" and wasn't carried out as rigorously as it should be.

According to Mr Mitchel, the association has tried to engage with prison management on the issue.

He added that prison officers have been balloted for industrial action in relation to staffing levels and workplace problems.

The POA will meet with the Minister for Justice on Wednesday, prior to the result of the ballot, to discuss the issues.

Mr Mitchell has warned that there will be some form of industrial action if their concerns aren't addressed.

Recent concerns over prison officers’ safety in our prisons emerged after a number of them were injured at Midlands Prison today in Portlaoise.

There were two separate incidents. In the first one officers were trying to stop a fight between two inmates when one of the guards was slashed across the buttocks with a sharp implement.

In a separate incident one officer sustained suspected broken ribs and another broke his ankle when they were trying to move a prisoner.
They are receiving treatment in hospital for their injuries.