Dáil Éireann - Volume 591 - 03 November, 2004

Written Answers. - Prison Accommodation.

  118. Mr. O’Shea asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform when he expects to receive the report of the expert group established to consider potential sites for the location of a new prison to replace Mountjoy Prison; if it is intended to demolish the recently constructed Dóchas facility at the women’s prison in the Mountjoy complex; the cost of the construction and equipping of the prison; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27250/04]

[1227]   Mr. McDowell:I have not yet received a final report of the group established to examine potential sites for a prison complex to replace that at Mountjoy. I do, however, understand that the group has identified three or four particular sites as being potentially the most suitable for consideration as a site for a new complex and these are being explored further. I expect that the exercise will be completed before the end of this year.

While no final decision has been made to demolish the women’s prison facility at Mountjoy, it is true that additional facilities are required for women prisoners and one option being considered is to construct an improved facility on a new site. In such a case, it may prove more cost effective to transfer all the prisoners from the existing site at Mountjoy to the new location when construction work has been completed, making the Dóchas facility redundant and freeing up space for a more attractive redevelopment of the Mountjoy site.

Work on the construction of the Dóchas facility and a 300 space multi-storey car park started in early 1997. About three quarters of the total cost of the project were associated with the Dóchas facility, which would give a construction cost of approximately €13 million for the women’s facility. For the reasons explained, the Dóchas facility will, at a very minimum, continue to remain in operation until a new facility has been completed and brought into operation, which will not happen before 2007-08 at the earliest.