Thursday, 1 December 2011
Question 12: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of times he has met with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to discuss the funding of the construction of the National Children's Detention Facility, Oberstown, Lusk, County Dublin; if he will provide an update on these discussions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37918/11]
Question 43: To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the date on which construction work will begin on construction of the National Children's Detention Facility, Oberstown, Lusk, County Dublin; the date on which the facility will open; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [37917/11]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 12, 29 and 43 together.
The reply covers some of the ground we covered in an earlier question. As the Deputy may be aware, responsibility for the children detention schools under Part 10 of the Children Act 2001 will shortly transfer to my colleague, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Accordingly, both I and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs participated in a number of discussions at Cabinet level and bilaterally with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the capital expenditure proposals for our respective areas, including the proposed national children detention facility at Oberstown, in advance of the recent announcement of the Government's capital investment framework for the period 2012 to 2016. Ongoing contact also takes place at senior official level between our Departments on financial and budgetary matters, including the funding requirements for capital expenditure.
It was not, unfortunately, possible to include the Oberstown project in the recent list of projects covered by the Government capital investment framework. However, the Government remains committed to ending the use of St. Patrick's Institution for the detention of 16 and 17 year old males. To this end, the Irish Youth Justice Service has been tasked with progressing to completion during 2012 the design work and tender documentation for the Oberstown project. An assessment is being carried out of what financial and technical resources would be needed during 2012 to carry out this work.
The Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and I are in consultations with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform on the funding of the subsequent construction stage of the project. I do not propose to comment further on these consultations, except to say the Deputy can be assured that both the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs and I will continue to make the case at Government level on the priority that should be given to the Oberstown project.
This is one of the issues in relation to the design of the prison. It is a matter for consideration by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs in the work she is doing. I will certainly bring to the Minister's attention the Deputy's concerns in that regard.