Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Department of Justice and Equality
192. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality further to Parliamentary Question No. 257 of 27 June 2017, if he will provide an updated table of costs to date in respect of Thornton Hall; if he or his officials have had consultation with the Office of Public Works or the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government regarding transferring this asset to either body for their use; if a review of its potential value and benefit to the State has been undertaken; if not, his plans to carry out a review within the next five years; if he has engaged with a third party or a State body regarding the sale of the lands; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44040/18]
As the Deputy is aware, the Thornton Hall site was purchased in 2005 with the intention of constructing a large scale prison campus to replace the 19thcentury complex at Mountjoy Prison which the then Government planned to sell to fund the development. Due to the downturn in the economy, the scale of the project could not be accommodated within the capital allocation available and the project did not proceed. Over the decade since the original plan, international research has tended towards smaller prisons within reach of support communities as the best option for rehabilitation. In addition, in light of the decision not to proceed with Thornton Hall, significant capital investment has been made at the Mountjoy campus over recent years to upgrade accommodation and eliminate the practice of slopping out.
The Irish Prison Service now proposes to further develop the Mountjoy site over the period 2021-2031 as referenced in the National Development Plan. The aim is to bring the remainder of the prison up to an acceptable modern standard capable of serving custody and rehabilitation needs into the future.
In the meantime, the Thornton Hall site which is fully serviced and adjacent to Dublin airport remains in my Department’s ownership and in recent years a working group, which included representation from the OPW, considered future use options for the site. This included discussions with Fingal County Council. More recently, the site has also been flagged to the Department of Housing and Local Government. As such, the site will be considered both in the context of broader State requirements for land assets and future requirements in relation to detention of prisoners.
As requested by the Deputy, the table below has been updated to include the costs in respect of ongoing maintenance, repairs and utilities up to the end of 2017.
Maintenance, Repairs & Utilities (€)