Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary has expressed deep concern at the Government’s decision to abandon work on Thornton Hall prison, at a time when there is already an overcrowding crisis in our prison system.
Commenting on the Government’s Capital Investment Framework published today, Deputy Calleary warned of the consequences for the prison system of the Government throwing out all of the work that has taken place on the Thornton Hall project.
“Thornton Hall was an important component of the previous Government’s prison policy and €40 million has already been invested in the project,” said Deputy Calleary. “The prison was due to be completed by 2014 and when completed it would had 1,400 cells for 2,200 prisoners.
“Thornton Hall will dramatically reduced prison overcrowding in this country. The previous Government recognised the need for decisive and urgent action to make our prisons safer and improve conditions for inmates and prison staff. Since the early stages of this project, Fine Gael and Labour have failed to come up with any coherent strategies to address the serious problems in our prison system. In the absence of having any ideas of their own, they appeared to realise the value in the Thornton Hall project after taking up office.
“The decision not to proceed with this major capital project contrasts with the progress underway in the health and tourism capital budgets. In opposition, Minister Shatter was the King of Talk. He now seems unable to walk the walk.”