Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Questions (402)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

402. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the payments made to a company (details supplied) historically in respect of the Prison Service; and the breakdown of the payments by year and prison and location. [5080/20]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The Deputy will appreciate that prison buildings are intensively used assets that require continuous maintenance and servicing to minimise the risk of loss of cells or other critical elements of the prison infrastructure.

I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the following table sets out the annual payments to the facilities management company referred to by the Deputy across the prison estate over the duration of the current contract. I am further advised that the payments in question arise under four contracts the company won in 2017 and 2018 following a competitive tender competition conducted under the Irish Prison Service Small Works Framework.

Year

Payment - €M

2015

4,093,212.43

2016

7,082,933.29

2017

11,288,657.17

2018

12,002,087.59

2019

12,884,848.61

2020*

2,213,830.00

* to End-February

I am advised that the annual spend over the duration of the contract has increased over the past number of years for a number of reasons including as a result of capital investment, the removal of “Slopping-out” in prisons such as Mountjoy Prison, along with the closure and subsuming of the former Patrick’s Institution into Mountjoy Prison, all of which have contributed to the increase in maintenance costs.

I am also advised by the Irish Prison Service that additional costs were also incurred in 2017 and 2018 due to a number of unforeseen events, including severe weather, which resulted in increased levels of expenditure on roof repairs, plumbing issues, hire of external plant and equipment and scaffolding, major repairs to prison yard netting (due to heavy snowfalls) and a control room failure in one location. These unforeseen circumstances all contributed significantly to the increase in expenditure over the duration of the contract referred to.

In addition, I am advised that, in accordance with industry norms, the Irish Prison Service has sought to place greater emphasis on planned preventative maintenance and compliance with health and safety legislation such as ventilation systems, prevention of legionella, infection control measures, fire safety and noise and dust monitoring.

I am not in a position to release details of the payments by location and prison at this time. The Irish Prison Service, in conjunction with the Office of Government Procurement, is currently in the process of completing the evaluation of tenders for a new facilities management contract. I hope the Deputy will appreciate that the release of the detailed financial information would be commercially sensitive pending the successful outcome of this tender competition.