Money has been set aside for 'major redevelopment' of Portlaoise Prison, according to the Minister for Justice, who is also to confirmed that the first new prison officers recruited in nearly a decade will begin training this year.
The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald is set to address the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Justice and Equality on spending plans for services under her responsibility today, Tuesday April 12.
In her opening remarks Minister Fitzgerald will say that the gross spending estimate for the prison service 2017 is €327 million plus an additional €2.833 million in unspent capital from 2016.
According to the Tánaiste Portlaoise Prison is down for refurbishment.
"A significant capital provision of over €25 million will allow enabling works continue in relation to the major redevelopment work planned for Limerick and Portlaoise prisons as well as refurbishment works in Wheatfield, Cloverhill and Castlerea prisons," the Minister will say.
The prison service has listed the E-wing in Portlaoise for overhaul because of the continuation of slopping out by prisoners because of the dated toilet and sanitary facilities.
The Minister said that new recruits are also on the way for the first time in nearly ten years.
"The Public Appointments Service (PAS) launched a recruitment campaign last year for recruit prison officers, the first such campaign since 2008. It is estimated that 80 new recruit prison officers will commence training this year and this will increase to over 200 in 2018. This recruitment will allow the Prison Service to keep pace with expected retirements," she will tell the committee.