Minister Fitzgerald welcomes the passage of the Prisons Bill through the Oireachtas

16 December 2015


The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD, has welcomed the completion of all stages of the Prisons Bill in the Oireachtas.


The main purpose of the Prisons Bill is to facilitate the complete closing of St Patrick’s Institution. The Bill will repeal statutory provisions that enable the courts to order the detention of offenders under the age of 21 in St Patrick’s Institution and will also delete references to St Patrick’s Institution from the statute book.


Following its passage by the Houses, the Bill will be sent to the President for his signature in accordance with the Constitution.


Minister Fitzgerald stated: “This Government committed to ending the practice of sending children to St Patrick’s Institution. In this regard, today marks a historic day for penal reform in Ireland. The Prisons Bill finally delivers on the calls to close St Patrick’s Institution which go back over thirty years.


"Under the Children's Act 2001, the sentencing of young people to a period of detention is considered a last resort. This Government’s unprecedented programme of reform in closing St Patrick’s Institution and developing National Children Detention Facilities at Oberstown will allow young people to be placed in a secure environment that will offer them a better chance – in the words of the Children Act – to take their place in the community as persons who observe the law and are capable of making a positive and productive contribution to society.


"I look forward to the full transfer of responsibility for children in detention to Oberstown, and to St Patrick’s Institution being finally consigned to history, early in 2016.”