Castlerea Prison Officers set for one-hour stoppage

Castlerea Prison will be affected by a nationwide one-hour stoppage which has been called by the Prison Officers Association (POA) for Friday, 30th of November between 2 pm and 3 pm.   The stoppage is the first action by the Prison Officers’ union in their dispute with the Irish Prison Service on the issue of a new search routine involving the prison officers themselves.   The prison officers say that they have no problems with the new search provisions, in fact they say that are totally behind the idea of the search and improving the safety of the prisons in general, however they object to the searches being carried out in their own time.   Spokesperson for the POA Eugene Dennehy told the People (Wednesday) . ‘We welcome the new search regime wholeheartedly. In fact we mooted it with the employers so we have no problem there at all. However it is ludicrous to expect prison officers to have to undergo these searches on their own time.    ‘The situation is that there are a lot of people who come in and out at the time the shifts change and it wll take ages to search everyone so there will be chaos. We have consistently offered solutions to the employers on this issue but they refuse to engage with us’ he said.    A nationwide ballot of POA members took place and  93% voted for industrial action.    ‘We are available to talk at any stage but the employers are refusing to talk. We have  reluctantly agreed to this one hour’s stoppage as a first step, to show that we are treating this very seriously. Every prison in the country will be affected’ he concluded.   There are 184 prison officers currently working in Castlerea Prison and they will also be affected by the stoppage on the 30th unless there is a solution before that.