Thursday, 29 January 2004

Questions (161)

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

161 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the number of prison places likely to be lost in the course of the closure of the Curragh and Spike Island prisons; the way in which it is intended to make up this loss; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2649/04]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform)

I refer the Deputy to my answer to Question No. 16 today where I indicated that the net loss of accommodation following the closures and the opening of new facilities in the Midlands and Limerick Prisons will be of the order of 25 spaces. I will reiterate that the closures have been forced upon the Prison Service because of the failure to reach agreement on reforming prison work practices. If we can resolve these fundamental difficulties, then the opportunity is there to transform the prison estate.