THE Irish Prison Service (IPS) is seeking submissions from members of the public on plans for a major expansion of Limerick Prison.
Tenders are being sought for the first phase of the project, which it is hoped will begin by March 2016.
The overall project, which will cost tens of millions of euro to complete, will see the construction of a new accommodation block to replace the existing A and B wings at the prison. This will see the practice of ‘slopping out’ at Limerick Prison coming to an end.
The project, which is separate to the construction of a new Criminal Courts Complex at the adjacent Costelloe’s Yard, will be funded entirely by the Irish Prison Service.
In addition to the accommodation block, a new women’s prison will also be constructed within the current site at Mulgrave Street – doubling the capacity for female prisoners.
A new Probation Service facility will also be constructed ensuring the site becomes a “one stop shop” for the administration of justice.
When the 19,000 square metre project is completed by the end of 2018, it is estimated the overall capacity of the prison will increase by around 25%.
Speaking at a public information meeting at the Absolute Hotel on Monday night, Ciaran Nevin, head of Capital Projects with the IPS said as part of the development a number of apartments will be incorporated within the new women’s prison.
“It is intended to be family friendly and to keep the links between mothers and their children as active as we can,” he said adding that depending on a prisoner’s individual circumstances children may be allowed to visit from time to time.
The first phase of the works, he said, will see the demolition of the current B Wing and the construction of a new car park on the periphery of the current site.
It is expected that tenders for the main project will be advertised next summer and a contractor appointed early in 2017.
At Monday’s meeting, residents living nearby expressed concerns about the height of the boundary wall and the impact of the construction works on traffic – particularly along Roxborough Road.
The closing date for submissions, which must be submitted in writing to the Irish Prison Service in Longford, is close of business on Tuesday, January 7, 2016.