§ Mr. FIELD
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the Irish prison warders have recently presented a petition praying for, amongst other things, an increase in boot allowance; and whether it is intended, in consequence of the cost of footwear and also in view of the fact that the postmen, many of whom are provided with bicycles, have already had their boot allowance increased 100 per cent., to give effect to the request contained in the petition?
§ Mr. SAMUELS
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. As regard the second part of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his previous question on the subject on the 31st January.
Mr. T. WILSON
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he will consider the advisability of putting all the Irish prisons staff on an equality as regards pay and allowances with the prisons staff of England; whether the list of grievances supplied to the Department in the form of a printed circular will receive careful consideration; and whether officers who are believed to be correspondents or agents for the "Prison Officers' Magazine" are being transferred to other prisons in preference to other officers?
§ Mr. SAMUELS
The question of assimilating the position of subordinate Irish prisons staffs as regards pay and allowances with the staffs of English prisons has been recently fully considered by His Excellency the Lord Lieutenant and the Treasury, and as a result the existing scales of remuneration which took60W effect from 1st April, 1916, were sanctioned. This point was fully dealt with in an answer given to the hon. Member for College Green Division, Dublin, on 14th February, 1917. As regards the second part of the question, the representations made by the prisons officers are now under consideration. As regards the second part of the question, officers are transferred only in accordance with the needs of the service and without reference to their being correspondents or agents of the "Prison Officers' Magazine."
Mr. T. WILSON
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that the female officers in Galway and Sligo Prisons are not being allowed every alternate Sunday off duty or a week-day off in lieu as authorised by the Treasury; that in the event of one of these officers taking a whole Sunday off or a week-day in lieu the second officer is compelled to perform fifteen hours' duty for that day; and whether he will take immediate steps to have these officers put on an equality in this respect with all female officers in Irish prisons or, alternatively, make arrangements for payment of overtime for any such extra hours they may be compelled to do duty on Sundays?
§ Mr. SAMUELS
Owing to there being only two women officers at the small prisons at Galway and Sligo it is not practicable to allow each of them a whole day off duty on alternate Sundays. At Galway Prison each of the women officers gets every alternate Sunday off duty from 1 p.m., and every alternate week-day off duty from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. At Sligo Prison each of the women officers gets a day off fortnightly in lieu of the alternate Sunday, but as this involves fifteen hours' duty on the part of the officer remaining on duty she is allowed an equivalent relaxation on the following day. In these small prisons it is impossible without increasing the staff to give as much relaxation as in the larger prisons. The regulation as to Sunday duty is that alternate Sundays off duty should be given, or, when that may be found impracticable, a day off duty in the following fortnight in lieu of such Sunday; and the General Prisons Board are desirous that the relaxation should be given where possible. In the small prisons, however, the nature of the relaxation is conditioned by the circumstances of the prisons, and the somewhat longer hours' duty are in a great measure compensated for by the lighter duties.