Dáil Éireann - Volume 584 - 05 May, 2004
Written Answers. - Prisons Building Programme.
Mr. Gilmore Mr. Gilmore
63. Mr. Gilmore asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform his proposals for a new prison on Spike Island; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12661/04]
Mr. McDowell Mr. McDowell
Mr. McDowell: I recently announced that I am considering the building of a new prison on Spike Island. This new facility would augment the existing Fort Mitchell detention centre on the island as well as replacing the existing Cork Prison. It would be a significant prison complex with separate sections devoted to male adult prisoners, 16 to 17 year old prisoners, and female prisoners. I am proposing to take this step because the existing Cork Prison suffers from chronic overcrowding and extending this prison on its existing site is not possible due to its location in a densely populated area of Cork city. Cork Prison needs to be replaced with a new, modern facility with the full range of work,  training, educational and medical services for inmates as well as predominantly single-cell accommodation with proper in-cell sanitation facilities. The proposed facility would provide adequate prison places for the southern region.
As a first step in the planning for the new facility, I have instructed the director general of the Prison Service to engage with the Office of Public Works and Cork County Council in the development of a plan for the construction of a bridge across to Spike Island from the mainland. The existing arrangement whereby prisoners, staff and contractors engaged in the maintenance of Fort Mitchell are brought to the island by boat is uneconomic and the bridge will enable the existing prison and the proposed new complex to operate effectively and efficiently.
Dáil Éireann 584 Written Answers. Prisons Building Programme.