Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Prison Building Programme
Question 599: To ask the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the plans and timeline for the new Thornton Hall prison, County Dublin, and for the installation of normal cell toilet facilities in Mountjoy Prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1518/11]
I can inform the Deputy that the development of the new prison campus at Thornton Hall, Kilsallaghan, County Dublin is now proceeding on a phased basis. Phase one, which is currently in progress, comprises essential preliminary works to facilitate the prison development including the construction of a dedicated access road, the installation of off-site services and the construction of the perimeter wall of the prison. The next phase of the project involves the provision of 400 cells along with related support facilities suitable to accommodate up to 700 prisoners. Subsequent phases of the project will see the provision of the balance of the 1,000 cells providing a total of 1,400 cells when completed with operational flexibility to accommodate up to 2,200 prisoners, thus future proofing the development.
The contract for the construction of the access road to serve the prison development was awarded to SIAC Construction Limited in July 2010 and construction work is already well underway in relation to this phase of the project. The access road and underpass are scheduled to be completed in February this year.
The contract for the installation of the off-site services to serve the prison development was awarded to PJ Hegarty and Sons recently following a tender competition. Construction work is scheduled to commence shortly and will take approximately eight months to complete.
Perimeter Security Wall
The procurement process for the design and construction of the perimeter security wall of the prison is already in progress. A pre-qualification competition for the design and construction of the perimeter security wall was held and five companies were short-listed to receive the tender documents. These documents issued last November and completed tenders are due to be returned by the end of this month. Construction of the perimeter wall is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2011 and will take just under a year to complete.
As I mentioned previously in the House, my priority is to provide good quality, regime focussed prison accommodation at Thornton Hall prison campus as quickly as possible. A phased development of the prison campus is now being pursued. The next phase of the works will see the procurement of prison accommodation blocks and related support facilities commencing later this year using traditional procurement methods.
Adopting a phased approach will provide prison accommodation at Thornton Hall in 2014. It makes sense to tender for the construction of these much needed prison facilities now in an environment where construction costs have fallen significantly.
In relation to the toilet facilities at Mountjoy Prison, I can inform the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service is currently engaged in a project to upgrade and recommission 36 cells in the basement of the "C" Wing at Mountjoy Prison. A feature of the upgrade is that each of the 36 cells in the basement will be provided with a flushing toilet and a wash hand basin.
While this project is underway, the Irish Prison Service has deemed it opportune to examine the structural, operational and economic feasibility of providing flushing toilets and wash hand basins to all of the cells in Mountjoy "C" Wing. In this context an invitation to tender for the provision of in-cell sanitation to the remaining cells in Mountjoy "C" Wing issued to the member firms of the Prison Service's Construction Framework Agreement on the 31st. December last.