Dáil Éireann - Volume 497 - 26 November, 1998

Written Answers - Probation and Welfare Service.

10. Mr. Higgins (Mayo) asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will appoint the 75 additional probation and welfare officials recommended in the recently published first report of the expert group on the probation and welfare service. [24997/98]

38. Proinsias De Rossa asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will implement the recommendations of the expert group on the probation and welfare service, particularly the recommendation regarding the recruitment of 75 additional probation officers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25079/98]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I propose to take Questions Nos. 10 and 38 together.

The expert group on the probation and welfare service in its first report, published on 2 November 1998, recommended the recruitment of an additional 65 probation and welfare officers and appropriate senior staff and clerical support.

The actual number of staff serving at present is 189.5. There are 14.5 vacancies at present, nine of which were filled in October by appointing temporary unestablished probation and welfare officers on a contract for six months. It is hoped to fill the remaining vacancies by the appointment of temporary unestablished probation and welfare service officers between now and early December 1998. The Civil Service Commission is currently interviewing to enable the permanent positions in the probation and welfare service to be filled in the first half of 1999. As regards the posts recommended in the expert group's report, my Department has submitted proposals relating to those recommendations to the Department of Finance.