Minister Flanagan Announces new BillPay service for prison families - May 8th, 2020



Minister Flanagan Announces new BillPay service for prison families

 

  • New service allows a prisoner’s family to pay money at the counter in any post office for the benefit of their relative in prison
  • Is the result of innovative collaboration between the Irish Prison Service and An Post
  • Part of continuing commitment to move to cashless systems

 

7 May, 2020

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced a new service, which will bring real and practical benefits for prisoners and their families.

 

The COVID 19 pandemic is bringing about new challenges to every aspect of all our lives. This initiative provides an important and necessary new mechanism for prisoners’ families, so that they can provide small amounts of money to help their relative in prison purchase items like toiletries, cigarettes, newspapers, confectionery and magazines from the prison tuck shop. This is particularly important as prison visits have been restricted as a result of Covid-19.

 

The new service is also part of a wider drive within the Irish Prison Service to modernise and move to electronic systems, in line with the Government’s ‘E-Agenda’.

 

Speaking on the launch of the new service Minister Flanagan said;

 

“The restrictions on movements as a result of Covid-19 have been hard on all our communities but especially hard on prison families as they are further separated from their loved ones. The Irish Prison Service has moved quickly to introduce a number of new and innovative initiatives aimed at helping families support their loved ones who are in prison.

 

“The introduction of video visits, electronic money transfers and now this new An Post BillPay Card service have all allowed families to support prisoners by keeping in contact and by providing funds for use in prison tuck shops without having to travel long distances to prisons.

 

“I want to commend the officials in the Irish Prison Service and An Post for working together to devise this innovative solution which will not only serve families and prisoners during the current crisis but will have longstanding benefits into the future.”

 

Debbie Byrne, Managing Director of An Post Retail, said;

 

“An Post is delighted to have been able to come up with this new, practical payment solution to assist prisoners and their families.’

 

“We have been able to match An Post’s unparalleled reach in every community with our strong technology and counter systems in an agile fashion to meet the changing needs of citizens and government. This is a great example of An Post’s approach to being human about money.’

 

The level of co-operation between An Post and the Irish Prison Service and the speed with which the new system had been put in place were a credit to both organisations, he said. ‘This was an example of what could be achieved right across the public service.”

 

The development of this new service for prisoners and their families as a collaborative project between the Irish Prison Service and An Post in such a short space of time is another excellent example of the innovative and collaborative partnerships that exists between State and other bodies.

 

The service allows a prisoner’s family to pay money at the counter in any one of An Post’s 950 post offices for the benefit of their relative in prison who can then spend the money in the prison tuck shop. Any prisoner who wishes to participate, can nominate one family member who will receive a BIllPay Card in the post. The nominated person can then bring the BillPay Card to their local post office and make a payment by cash or debit card. The service is private and confidential as the nature and destination of the transaction is masked, protecting both the payee and the recipient.

The national post office network currently handles close to 1.4m customer visits each week and 120m electronic transactions each month.

 

The new payment option was introduced in post offices this week and is currently being rolled out throughout the prison system.

Click on the link to view our information sheet Using An Post BillPay Cards

The Irish Prison Service has created a new page on our website for prisoner services. You can locate this service in the menu under prisoner services, lodging money to prisoner account. Click on the link below for more details.

https://www.irishprisons.ie/lodging-money-prisoner-account/