DCSIMG

End of slopping out is ‘capital dependent’

Minister for Justice Equality and Defence Alan Shatter TD inspects the guard of honou of prison officer in Portlaoise.
Picture: Alf Harvey/hrphoto.ie

Minister for Justice Equality and Defence Alan Shatter TD inspects the guard of honou of prison officer in Portlaoise. Picture: Alf Harvey/hrphoto.ie

Officers at Portlaoise Prison will have to put up with ‘slopping out’ at the jail’s high security E-Block until a promise of investment is delivered by the Government.

The installing of toilets in 60 cells at the prison is promised by 2016 under an the Irish Prison Service investment plan which was published in two years ago.

The project, without details, was listed in the prison service’s 2013 annual report, which was published last week. It is one of a number of development at prisons where it is planned to undertake capital projects “to replace outdated accommodation and facilities”.

As to the progress made on E-Block to the end of last year, the report states simply: “Portlaoise - project is capital dependent”.

The Portlaoise work is at the bottom of the list of four projects. Work on a new Cork prison ( was due start in January), replacement of two wings in Limerick (planning underway but capital dependent) and overhaul of the four wings in Mountjoy (one wing remains to be done).

A spokesman for the Irish Prison Service could not give a date as to when work on E-Wing would be carried out but confirmed it is in the plan.He also confirmed that work would involve the installation of sanitary facilities on 60 cells to end the practice of slopping out. The spokesman said the Block is used to accommodate dissident republicans.

He said the project was at ‘pre-planning’ meaning designs were not in place. He declined to say how much it would cost for commercially sensitive reasons.

The spokesman said that it was no longer acceptable for staff or prisoners to have to deal with a “Dickensian” situation. The annual report says there have been”significant reductions” in the number of prisoners slopping out in Mountjoy and Limerick.

Meanwhile, the annual report says overcrowding has been tacked in Portlaoise Prison while the new Midlands Prison block has helped to keep Cork and Limerick prisons at below or at capacity.

 

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