Estate Management and ICT
Eric Brady,Director of Estates and ICT
Role of the Directorate
Estate Management Directorate is responsible for the construction and maintenance the buildings within the prison estate. The Directorate also provides Information Communication Technology solutions and support for all staff (both prison officer and civilian) as well as prisoners.
Significant investment has taken place in our prison estate in recent years with in excess of 900 new prison spaces having been constructed and brought into use since 2007.
Irish Prison Service Capital Projects
Midlands Prison New Accommodation Block
A new 300 space prison wing in the Midlands Prison was completed in 2012 with the first cohort of prisoners being accommodated in the new wing in November that year. The new block contains 175 cells which are all 12m2 in size and include full in-cell sanitation.
Dochas Centre Accommodation Unit
A refurbishment project in the Dóchas Centre to convert a building previously used for administration and storage into prisoner accommodation was also completed in 2012 providing an additional 20 prisoners spaces. This new Unit opened in December 2012 and is used to house prisoners on an incentivised regime.
40 Month Capital Plan
The Irish Prison Service Three Year Strategic Plan, contains a commitment to implement a 40 month capital plan to provide in-cell sanitation in all cells and radically improve prison conditions in the older parts of the prison estate.
Included in the Plan is :
- · the replacement of Cork Prison
- · the refurbishment of Mountjoy Prison
- · the construction of a new wing in Limerick Prison
- · the refurbishment of the E wing in Portlaoise Prison.
On the 16 January 2014, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter TD signed a €35 million contract with PJ Hegarty and Sons for the construction of the new prison. The new prison is being built on a site immediately adjacent to the existing prison. Construction began on 20 January 2014 and will take approximately 18 months to complete. The new facility, when commissioned, will be ready of occupation before the end of 2015.The new prison will house 275 prisoners and have a maximum capacity of 310 prisoners.
To view a video of the proposed development click here (Please note that this link will divert you to an external website and the Irish Prison Service is not responsible for the content of same).
Central to the elimination of slopping out is the continuation of the refurbishment and in-cell sanitation project in Mountjoy Prison. The refurbishment of the A, B and C Wings have been completed. The refurbishment of each of these wings has included the installation of in-cell sanitation.
Work on the final phase of this project, the refurbishment of the D Wing commenced in 2014 and will be completed shortly.The D wing of Mountjoy prison also houses a number of training workshops which will be converted to cells as part of the wing refurbishment project.
InJune 2012 Minister Shatter requested the Irish Prison Service to proceed with the preparation of plans for a major redevelopment at Limerick prison including the demolition of the early 19th century A and B wings and their replacement with modern cellular accommodation on a site adjacent to the prison.
Phase 1 of this development will include the construction of a new 100 cell accommodation block for male prisoners while phase 2 will include the construction of a new 50 cell accommodation block for females prisoners and a range of ancillary works.
Enabling works for the project are already well advanced and stage 1 of a two stage tender process has been completed. A shortlist of contractors who will be invited to tender for the main project has been drawn up from that stage.
While it was initially expected that the main construction project would commence in March 2014 that target cannot now be achieved and a commencement date in 2015 is now anticipated.
Consideration is currently being given by the Irish Prison Service to refurbishment works at Portlaoise Prison including the installation of in cell sanitation. A final decision on these works has not yet been taken.
Elimination of Slopping out
In line with the Government Programme for National Recovery,the Prison Service is committed to the elimination of slopping out in all prisons. While the issue of slopping out cannot be resolved overnight the Prison Service has made significant progress in this regard in recent months. The number of prisoners currently slopping out has decreased by over 68% in the past 5 years. The construction of the new prison in Cork will see an end to slopping out in that prison by the end of 2015 and will see slopping out reduce.
Information Communications Technology
Information Communications Technology solutions are provided to approximately 3,300 Prison Officers and approximately 3,700 prisoners. The ICT Directorate is headed by a Director and a Head of ICT and reporting to them is a manager at Assistant Principal Officer level and their staff. There are three different ICT areas, namely: Networks and Phones, Operations (servers, hardware and software) and Systems.