Written answers

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Prison Building Programme

5:00 pm

Photo of Willie PenroseWillie Penrose (Longford-Westmeath, Labour)
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Question 38: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the progress made over recent months on the Thornton Hall project, County Dublin; if any consideration has been given to rethinking the project in favour of a more feasible smaller institution; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13006/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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The Government re-affirmed its commitment to developing a new prison campus at Thornton Hall, Kilsallaghan, County Dublin and also approved the launch of a new tendering process for the construction of a more affordable and better value prison campus at Thornton. The aim is to provide good quality, regime focussed prison accommodation with appropriate support and rehabilitative facilities for prisoners to prepare them for re-integration back into society. The new prison facility will provide accommodation for 1,400 prisoners with operational flexibility to accommodate up to 2,200 in a range of security settings.

The development is now proceeding on a phased basis with phase one comprising essential enabling works required for the development including the construction of the dedicated access road, perimeter wall and off-site services. Tenders for the construction of the access road will be issued in the near future. A tender competition for the construction of the perimeter wall of the prison will issue mid-Summer.

An EU wide tender competition for the appointment of technical advisors to the Irish Prison Service is already in progress. The Irish Prison Service is being assisted in this process by the National Development Finance Agency. This will lead to an invitation to tender for the construction of the main prison development at a later stage.

There are no indications that smaller institutions are more feasible. The primary purpose of Thornton is to replace the Mountjoy complex which currently holds over 1,000 prisoners in four institutions on a 20 acre site.Thornton will be a campus development with approximately 1,400 cells on a 130 acre site.

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