Thursday, 1 April 2010
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Prison Building Programme
Question 112: To ask the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will respond to a report in a newspaper (details supplied) that he has abandoned plans to replace St. Patrick's Institution; and the position regarding same. [14451/10]
Barry Andrews (Minister of State with special responsibility for Children and Young People, Department of Health and Children; Minister of State, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Minister of State, Department of Education and Science; Dún Laoghaire, Fianna Fail)
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Contrary to media reports, the development of the new national children detention facilities is well underway. The Office of Public Works has completed both concept designs and sketch designs to deliver 167 places and these have been approved by the Steering Committee established to oversee progress on the project. The Steering Committee is due to meet again today to consider the planning process to be used in respect of the new facilities and work will commence shortly on developing detailed designs in consultation with the various stakeholders so that Request for Tenders documentation for construction can be prepared. Sufficient capital funding has been provided this year to progress the planning and design of the facilities.
The project will be undertaken in phases. It is anticipated that the first phase will consist of 80 new places and will facilitate the transfer of responsibility for detaining 16 and 17 year old boys from St. Patrick's Institution. The second phase is intended to provide a further 57 new places with the remaining 30 places being provided in existing facilities.
The completion date for the new facilities will be subject to the planning process to be followed but it is hoped, subject to any requirements that the planning authorities may have, that Phase 1 of the project could be complete by mid- 2013.
Funding for the project has been earmarked in the National Development Plan. As with all major capital projects of this nature, expenditure will be reviewed on an ongoing basis to ensure value for money and tendering for the construction of the new facilities will be subject to Government approval and to the necessary funding being made available.