Irish Prison Service

Irish Prison Service van parked near the Four Courts

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) (Irish: Seírbhis Phríosuin na hÉireann) manages the day-to-day running of prisons in Ireland. Political responsibility for Irish prisons still rests with the Minister and governmental Department for Justice and Equality.

Budget and Staff

In 2009, the Irish Prison Service had an annual budget of €379.319 million and it had a staff of 3,568 people.[1]


In 1928 the Minister for Justice of the Irish Free State, Kevin O'Higgins, dissolved by statutory instrument of the General Prisons Board, which had been established in the pre-independence era to manage the Irish prison system.[2] Thus, the responsibility for the management of the Irish prison system devolved to the minister and his department.[3]

The situation remained thus until in 1999 the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, John O'Donoghue established the Irish Prison Service as an agency to administrate over Irish prisons. Also in 1999 the Minister created the Prisons Authority Interim Board, whose members were appointed by the minister, as an advisory board to the Irish Prison Service.[3] In 2002, the first Inspector of Prisons in the post-independence era, retired High Court Judge Dermot Kileen was also appointed by the Minister.[4] None of these bodies, including the Irish Prison Service, has any statutory basis in Irish law.

See also


  1. Irish Prison Service (2010). Annual Report (PDF). Dublin. p. 8.
  2. S.I. No. 79/1928 — General Prisons Board (Transfer of Functions) Order, 1928.
  3. 1 2 Kilcommins, Shane; O'Donnell, Ian; O'Sullivan, Eoin; Vaughan, Barry (2004). Crime, punishment and the search for order in Ireland. Dublin: Institute of Public Administration. p. 43. ISBN 1-904541-13-5.
  4. Times Online (6 August 2007). "Obit.: Mr Justice Dermot Kinlen". The Times. London. Retrieved 22 February 2011.
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