I wish to assure the Deputy that the safety of both staff and prisoners is of paramount concern to me as Minister and to management of the Irish Prison Service.
I have been advised by the Irish Prison Service that the cause of the fire at Midlands prison has not been fully determined as the investigation by the Prison Service Fire Safety Officer is on-going. That investigation includes liaison with the local fire service who responded to the incident. The fire was contained to a particular room at the prison. It resulted in the transfer of a number of prisoners from Midlands to Portlaoise Prison as a contingency measure, rather than their evacuation from the prison. I have also been advised that all fire safety systems operated correctly during the incident.
Over the past three years 42 maintenance requests relating to the fire safety system have been lodged by staff, all of which have been acted upon.
The maintenance of the prison fire safety system is covered under a service contract and all systems are serviced in line with applicable contracts.
I have been informed by the Director General of the Irish Prison Service that the latest servicing of the prison fire safety system commenced on the 4th February 2019 and was completed on the 20th February 2019. I can also confirm the fire suppression system was serviced on the 19th February 2019.