26th November, 2015

 

Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice and Equality has today announced that the public consultation process on planning proposals for a major development at Limerick Prison commenced earlier today, Thursday 26th November 2015, with the publication of a Notice of Development.

 

The proposed development will see the replacement of both the A & B Wings with a new modern cell block designed to meet international standards and will end the practice of slopping out in Limerick Prison. The development will also include a new accommodation block for female prisoners. This represents a very significant investment in the justice sector in Limerick and when completed will provide a very high standard of accommodation for both prisoners and staff in Limerick Prison.

 

In addition, a new purpose built suite of offices for the Probation Service in Limerick will be constructed immediately adjacent to Limerick prison and to the soon to be commenced Courts Complex. This will result in the first multi-disciplinary Justice location in the State.

 

Speaking on the announcement Minister Fitzgerald said “Today’s announcement regarding this very significant development at Limerick Prison, coupled with the opening of the new Cork Prison in January 2016 and the completion of the refurbishment of Mountjoy Prison is concrete evidence of the Government’s delivery on its promise to radically improve the prison estate and to consign the practice of slopping out to history”.

 

Our prisons play a vital role in making our society safer through the reduction in reoffending. I am committed to ensuring that the conditions in all our prisons create an environment which is conducive to rehabilitation which will reduce reoffending and make our country safer”.

 

“I would like to particularly emphasize the importance of the new female facility planned for Limerick which will revolutionise the regime of care for female prisoners in the Munster region. The facility will be unique in that it will provide dedicated space where female prisoners will have an opportunity to experience visits from their children added the Minister.

 

Drawings and particulars of the proposed development have been made available for inspection at the Head Office of the Irish Prison Service, in Longford and at Roxborough Road Garda Station in Limerick. They will be available for 6 weeks.

 

All interested parties should avail of the opportunity to make observations on the proposed development to the Irish Prison Service for consideration and to assist in that regard the Irish Prison Service will host a public information evening on the development in the near future.

 

Following completion of the Statutory Consultation process it is planned to commence enabling works for the development in late February 2016 and to have the main development underway in early 2017 with a completion date of the end of 2018.

 

ENDS.../

 

Note for Editors

Limerick Prison is a closed, medium security prison for adult males and females. It is the committal prison for males for counties Clare, Limerick and Tipperary and for females for all six Munster counties.

The prison has a current capacity of 220 for male prisoners and 28 for females. The average number in custody in limerick Prison in 2014 was 223 and 27 respectively.

The existing facility in Limerick consists of the A and B Divisions both which date back to 1821. More modern facilities are found in the C Division (2003) and D Divisions (1999).

The females are accommodated in the E Wing which also dates back to 1821.

 

Slopping Out

The number of prisoners slopping out in the prison system has decreased from 1,003 at the end of 2010 to the current level of 284, a reduction of 72%. This will decrease further to approximately just 73 in January 2016 with the opening of the new Cork Prison. At this stage 98% of the prison population will have in-cell sanitation or 24 hour access to toilet facilities.

 

Proposed Development

The finished development will see the demolition of the A and B divisions and replacement with an extension of c. 18,600 square metres to Limerick Prison including

· A new 103 cell accommodation block. Each cell will be of 12.2 sq. and while it is intended that they will be singly occupied they will meet the requirements of the inspector of Prisons for double occupancy should that ever be required.

· A new facility for female prisoners. It will accommodate 58 female prisoners in 50 modern cells arranged in discrete blocks and 8 single occupancy child / visitor friendly apartments.

· In addition to the prison extension, a modern specifically designed suite of offices for the Probation Service in Limerick.

 

For further information contact:

Department of Justice Press Office: 01-6028712

Irish Prison Service Press Office: 0876674284