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Minister McEntee Launches of the 2022 campaign for the position of Recruit Prison Officer in the Irish Prison Service

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today welcomed the opening of the 2022 campaign for the position of Recruit Prison Officer in the Irish Prison Service. Minister McEntee urges people, especially those in minority and new Irish communities, to consider the Irish Prison Service as a career.

The competition is being run by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Irish Prison Service. The Irish Prison Service intends to recruit up to 144 Recruit Prison Officers in 2022 with an additional 200 in 2023.


Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee said


I am delighted that the 2022 Recruit Prison Officer competition has now opened, allowing people the opportunity to join this frontline service. Being a Prison Officer is a very challenging and rewarding role. Prisoners will look to you, as the most accessible people they have in their lives, as figures of authority and also as people to learn from.You will have the opportunity to help prisoners see their time in custody as an opportunity to change their lives for the better and as a fresh beginning. As a Prison Officer you will be best placed to provide corrective experiences and demonstrate a good way of behaving.”



The last recruitment competition was held in early 2019 and classes have continued right throughout the pandemic. The 2022 Recruit Prison Officer Competition is open until Thursday 4th August 2022 at 3pm.

Caron McCaffrey, Director General of the Irish Prison Service added,



“The 2022 Recruit Prison Officer competition is very much welcomed and demonstrates our commitment to expanding our workforce. The role of Prison Officers can be both challenging and rewarding and our training will provide applicants with a greater understanding of the complex role a prison officer will face, which combines the provision of safe and secure custody, with care and rehabilitation of our prisoners.” 



Information on the competition can be found by visiting the Public Appointments Service website at





Notes to Editors:

About the Recruit Prison Officer Job


The Recruit Prison Officer (RPO) is the entry level to the Service and it is proposed to set up a panel from which vacancies arising in the Irish Prison Service may be filled.


Vacancies will be filled at Recruit Prison Officer level initially. Following the successful completion of 3 years’ service including probation and a Higher Certificate in Custodial Care, the Recruit Prison Officer will be appointed as an established Prison Officer.


Prisons operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As a result, Recruit Prison Officers will be required to work a basic 2,035 hours per year based on an average roster of 39 hours a week, and will be required to work shifts including night duties, every second weekend, some public holidays and over festive seasons. Recruit Prison Officers will also be required to work Additional Hours (AH) over and above basic rostered hours up to 360 hours per annum.

Working as a Recruit Prison Officer can be complex and difficult, but it can be varied, challenging and highly rewarding. We are looking for individuals who have the capacity to relate to and engage with prisoners, act with professionalism, tolerance and humanity and the ability to role model positive social behaviour. They must also have the ability to think on their feet in dealing with situations which require security and control.


Information in relation to the competencies required of a Recruit Prison Officer is set out at Appendix 2. These include:


  • Directing Others
  • Supporting Others
  • Conscientiousness
  • Resilience
  • Adaptability
  • Information Handling and Communication



Eligibility Requirements


In order to be eligible for selection as a Recruit Prison Officer, an applicant must on the closing date of the 4th of August 2022, satisfy all of the following requirements:

(a)        Age

Be at least 18 years of age i.e., must have been born on or before the 4th of August 2004;


(b)        Educational Qualifications

Applicants must:

(i)         have obtained in the Established Leaving Certificate a minimum of grade D3 (O6 post 2017) at Ordinary level, or C3 (F5 from 2017) at Foundation Level, in at least 5 subjects*; or

(ii)        hold a minimum of a Level 5 Major award** (120 credits) on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ); or


(iii)       hold a recognised qualification (at Level 5 or greater), deemed comparable to the above in terms of both level and volume of learning as determined by Quality and Qualifications Ireland   (QQI)       

In certain cases, a Pass in the Applied Leaving Certificate may be deemed equivalent to a Leaving Certificate.                              

*A Pass or above in the Links Modules subject may be counted as one subject.


** A Fetac Level 5 or 6 major award will have 120 Credits (Please note any certificate which has a lower number is only a Minor Award and is not sufficient to determine eligibility).


Note: A combination of two or more exam sittings may be permitted in determining eligibility.


Pay and Allowances Salary


As of 1st February 2022, the following salary scale applies to Recruit Prison Officers:

PPC €31,337.00          €32,545.00      €35,379.00




Entry will be at the minimum point of the scale.

Work on Saturday, Sunday, public holidays and nights attract premium payments. Recruit Prison Officers will also receive other allowances e.g., Operational Allowance (8% of annual salary). The allocation of up to 360 additional hours will attract further premium payments.

The Additional Hours System provides for extra attendance by staff. It involves the allocation of up to 360 hours maximum per person per annum. (Under this system a lower number of hours may be allocated, i.e., 240 hours, 112 hours, or nil hours.)


Closing Date


The closing date for receipt of applications is 3pm on Thursday 4th August 2022.

It is suggested that you apply well in advance of the closing date in case you experience any difficulties. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date.