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Question

319. Deputy Ivana Bacik asked the Minister for Justice the number of usable cells in each prison and overall across the State; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [58189/21]

Answer

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I can advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service perform a quarterly census of the Prison estate and publish the results on their website, at www.irishprisons.ie/information-centre/statistics-information/census-reports/
I can further advise the Deputy that according to the latest census which was carried out on 19 October 2021 there were 3,211 usable cells across the estate.
Table 1 below provides a breakdown by prison of all usable cells as at 19th October 2021

Prison Number in Custody Useable Cells One Prisoner Two Prisoners Three Prisoners 4+ Prisoners
Arbour Hill 129 115 99 30 0 0
Castlerea 285 244 127 158 0 0
Cloverhill 408 206 80 64 228 36
Cork 265 170 55 204 6 0
Limerick Female 28 24 20 8 0 0
Limerick Male 185 146 99 86 0 0
Loughan 94 102 94 0 0 0
Midlands 791 587 355 414 6 16
Mountjoy Female 119 97 49 70 0 0
Mountjoy Male 694 755 694 0 0 0
Portlaoise 210 267 145 56 9 0
Shelton Abbey 94 58 37 10 15 32
Wheatfield 536 440 284 252 0 0
Total 3,838 3,211 2,138 1,352 264 84

The key statistics from the Census relating to usable cells are:
- There were 3,838 prisoners in custody.
- 2,138 (56%) cells accommodated one prisoner.
- 676 cells accommodated two prisoners (1,352 prisoners).
- 88 cells accommodated three prisoners (264 prisoners).
- 20 cells accommodated four or more prisoners (84 prisoners).
- 3 prisoners accommodated in Safety Observation Cell.
- 11 prisoners accommodated in Close Supervision Cells.
The Irish Prison Service are currently progressing a number of projects that will deliver additional prisoner spaces over the next twelve months.
These projects include the reopening of the Training Unit to accommodate older prisoners, and will see 96 prisoner spaces return to operation.
In addition, the construction of a new male wing and standalone female prison is underway in Limerick Prison and will provide 90 additional male and 40 additional female spaces. This project is expected to be completed by the end of Summer 2022 and the new accommodation will become operational by the end of quarter 3 of 2022. This timeline assumes no further impact on construction activity or supply chain issues due to the Covid-19 pandemic.