“SERIOUS issues” in relation to the oldest sections of Limerick Prison are being addressed with a major capital investment, according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan.
The A and B wings on Mulgrave Street are almost 200 years old and have been criticised as overcrowded and dirty in reports by prisons inspector Judge Michael Reilly.
Minister Noonan said he “welcomes the response” of cabinet colleague Alan Shatter to Judge Reilly’s findings. Justice Minister Shatter announced redevelopment plans for the prison on a visit to Limerick last week.
“The (Reilly) report raised a number of issues in relation to cleanliness, hygiene and regimes and services available in the prison, which are being dealt with through an action plan by the Irish Prison Service,” Minister Noonan commented.
“The report also raised a number of serious issues in relation to the older A and B divisions in the prison and in response to these issues, the minister has approved the drafting of detailed plans for the replacement of the A and B divisions. These detailed plans will be for a new modern 100-cell accommodation block with in-cell sanitation, the provision of a dedicated committal unit and a high support unit. The plans will also provide for additional recreational areas and a new kitchen facility with work training facilities.
“The announcement... shows the Government’s commitment to planning for the future and investing in infrastructure. Investments such as this one in Limerick Prison are very important in terms of supporting the construction sector and its workers. This year, the state will invest €4 billion in our economy. This investment creates economic activity throughout the country, which is to the benefit of local businesses.”