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Prisons, Service

Volume 154: debated on Monday 15 May 1922

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asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury if he will give particulars of the Treasury decision under which ex-chief-warder Mackerell, Dundalk prison, was reduced in rank from a Class II chief to that of principal warder, and subsequently pensioned on the minimum pay and emoluments of a Class II chief warder, in view of the fact that he held the latter rank for six years prior to 1919?

Mr. Mackerell was appointed in 1913 to the old grade of chief warder. Class II, with salary of £90 per annum, increased in 1916 to 38s. 6d. by Is. to 39s. 6d. per week. He was left in charge of Dundalk prison when that prison was evacuated in May, 1919. At the regrading of the service in October, 1919, it was decided by the Treasury that the scale of principal warders (50s. by Is. to 60s.) was adequate remuneration for chief warders of minor prisons, and this decision was applied in the case of Mr, Mackerell, who was then acting as caretaker of an evacuated prison. On the re-occupation of Dundalk prison in March, 1920, he was promoted to the new grade of chief warder (scale 57s. by 2s. to 69s.), entering at the minimum with full bonus, and was subsequently pensioned on his average salary and emoluments for the three years preceding date of retirement.

asked the Chief Secretary if ex-clerk and schoolmaster W. Connell, Mountjoy prison, after having been a first-class warder with about 40 years' prison service, was classified in the various assimilation schemes and subsequently pensioned on a rate of pay and emoluments that could be attained by a clerk and schoolmaeter with six years in the rank; and the grounds on which this classification was made?

The duties on which this officer was engaged at the date of the assimilation of the Irish prisons service were those now performed by the clerk and schoolmaster grade, and did not warrant his being assimilated to a higher rank than that grade. He was accordingly assimilated to the rank of clerk and schoolmaster at his existing salary, 49s. a week with modified bonus, less the all round: reduction of 5s. a week made when the full Civil Service bonus was granted.

asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the temporary warders in the Irish prisons service are ex-service men who served in the Great War, and that on their discharge they will find it difficult or impossible to obtain employment in Ireland; whether these men will on their discharge be entitled to receive compensation under the Treaty and Part II of Schedule 8 of the Government of Ireland Act, 1920: and, if not, whether he will take steps to ensure that these men will on their discharge receive adequate compensation?

The answer to the first two parts of the question is in the affirmative, subject, as regards the second part, to the qualifications set out in Rule I of Part II of the Eighth Schedule to the Act of 1920. The third part does not arise.

asked the Chief Secretary if he has received an appeal from Engineer Newman, Kilkenny Prison, for a sworn inquiry into the circumstances of his reduction in rank, in consequence of injuries received in the service: whether he is aware that the medical board recommended him as quite fit for ordinary duties, and that the placing of him in a lower rank was not even mentioned in the medical report; and what action he proposes to take in the matter?

The prison service has now been transferred to the Provisional Government, to whom inquiries of this nature should be addressed.