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26/10/2021

Prison officers face 'serious misconduct' charge as Irish Prison Service confirms boozy escort investigation

Serious misconduct can lead to dismissal

Prison Service has advanced plans for refurbishment of Portlaoise Prison

Portlaoise Prison is home to Ireland's most dangerous criminals

The Irish Prison Service insists that it sets 'high standards' as it begins an investigation of potentially serious misconduct by prison officers based in Portlaoise who could face dismissal having consumed alcohol while escorting prison services.

The IPS issued a statement on foot of a report in the Irish Examiner which claims four Portlaoise Prison Officers are under investigation.

"The Irish Prison Service sets high standards in respect of its staff and requires that all staff carry out their duties with integrity, commitment and professionalism at all times. 

"In circumstances where the conduct of a staff member falls below the high standards expected, this is treated with the utmost seriousness in accordance with the Civil Service Code of Discipline.

"The Irish Prison Service can confirm that it has commenced an investigation into allegations of a breach of escort protocol by a number of prison staff under the Civil Service Code of Discipline," concluded the brief statement.

The code says serious misconduct is misconduct which is sufficiently serious enough that it "may warrant dismissal" or other serious action. "Reporting to or attending at work while being under the influence of alcohol" is defined as one of the examples of serious misconduct in the code.

The investigation arises from claims that four prison officers faced investigation, three of whom went drinking, during the escort of a gangland criminal to and from court.

The Irish Examiner reported that the incident, which occurred in September, involved an escort from Portlaoise Prison to the Criminal Courts of Justice building in Dublin.

It is claimed that three of the officers spent part of the day in Dublin drinking alcohol and were unfit to drive the prison van back to Portlaoise that evening. 

It is also claimed that the escort stopped against the rules at a motorway services on the way back to the high security Laois jail.

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