Written answers

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Prison Facilities

8:00 am

Photo of Ciarán LynchCiarán Lynch (Cork South Central, Labour)
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Question 53: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the number of hours the library in each prison is scheduled to open each week; the percentage of scheduled opening times that these libraries were actually open from June to October 2010 inclusive; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46615/10]

Photo of Dermot AhernDermot Ahern (Minister, Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform; Louth, Fianna Fail)
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Library facilities are available in all prisons. The majority are managed by qualified staff from the Local Authority Library Services whose salary costs are refunded by the Irish Prison Service. Prison staff assist the librarian staff and operate library services in some prisons. The information requested by the Deputy is set out in the following table in relation to nine prisons.

PRISONScheduled Opening Hours (per week)% hours open June - October 2010
St Patrick's Institution35100
Loughan House779
Shelton Abbey1083

In relation to the other five prisons comparable data is not available. These prisons operate varying access arrangements structured to reflect demand including, scheduled and ad hoc opening hours. The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Prison Service, in common with the Public Service in general, has been affected by the moratorium on recruitment. Library opening hours were restricted in most prisons over this period because of the need to re-allocate staff to other priority functions. Where it is necessary to reassign certain staff members to frontline areas for security and operational reasons this is done on a rotational basis to ensure minimum disruption.


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