Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (433)

Jim O'Callaghan

Question:

433. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice the transport budget for the Irish Prison Service in 2019, 2020 and 2021, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2736/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Justice)

The information requested by the Deputy is set out in Table 1 and Table 2 below. I am advised by the Irish Prison Service that the information set out in Table 1 outlines the vehicle budget and spend for 2019 - 2021. Table 2 outlines the Prison Service Vehicle Maintenance budget and spend for years 2019-2021. Table 3 outlines Fuel, Parking and Toll Expenditure for the years 2019 - 2020.

The Deputy will be aware that the Irish Prison Service operates the Prison Service Escort Corp for the purpose of transporting prisoners. Prisoners are required to be transferred between institutions, to and from court and to and from hospital. The Prison Service hold a mix of type and size of vehicles for these purposes. The size range varies from a one person cellular vehicle to a fourteen person cellular carrier within the custodial vehicle range.

Within the passenger fleet, the Service also has a range of medium sized cars which have a range of uses including the transportation of pregnant female prisoners.

The Irish Prison Service also has a range of small, medium and large commercial vehicles which cater for a wide range of uses, including use by trades officers for works within the prison grounds and for the movement of goods to supply Prison Stores. There are also some refrigerated vehicles included in the fleet for the movement of refrigerated goods.

At the end of 2020 the Irish Prison Service had a total fleet size of 247 active vehicles ranging in registration from 1997 to 2020. I am advised that the Prison Service Escort Corp review and examine the condition of the transport fleet at their disposal on an ongoing basis to ensure vehicles are roadworthy and safe for all users.

I can further advise the Deputy that the Irish Prison Service have purchased 28 new vehicles in the past two years and have committed to purchasing six further two cell custodial vehicles in 2021.

The overall cost of maintaining and servicing the Irish Prison Service fleet fluctuates due to the age and the unique specifications required within the fleet. Fuel costs had increased significantly up until end of March 2020. Subsequently with the onset of COVID 19 separate escort vehicles are required in the event a number of prisoners have to attend court with the need for COVID 19 infection control guidelines to be adhered to in order to have prisoners brought to and from court in a safe environment, which accounts for expenditure exceeding the budget in 2020.

Furthermore and again with the onset of the pandemic the Prison Service were obliged to carry out necessary works on a number of vehicles as a precautionary measure to ensure response vehicles were available should the need arise to transport a prisoner who may test positive to the virus.

Table 1 – Transport Capital Budget and Expenditure

Year - Vehicles Purchased

Yearly Capital Budget

Yearly Capital Spend

2019

1,350,000

1,206,780

2020

500,000

542,908

2021

250,000

0 as at 18th January 2021

Table 2 - Transport Maintenance Budget and Expenditure.

Year

Yearly Maintenance budget

Yearly Maintenance spend

2019

1,150,000

1,294,979

2020

1,200,000

1,467,112

2021

1,150,000

0 as at 18th January 2021

Table 3 – Fuel, Parking and Toll Expenditure

Year

Fuel€

Parking & Tolls€

2019

505,390

44,915

2020

457,222

25,202