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Extra funding for 670 prisoner spaces
Pic: RollingNews.ie

03 Apr 2024 / justice Print

Extra funding for 670 prisoner spaces

The Irish Prison Service (IPS) is to receive more than half of an additional €93 million in capital spending allocated to the justice sector over the next three years.

The funding, under the National Development Plan (NDP), was approved by ministers last week.

The Department of Justice said that €49.5 million of the money would go to the IPS to further increase prison capacity and address current constraints in the prison estate.

Preparatory work will start this year on four key projects – in Cloverhill, Castlerea, Midlands and Mountjoy prisons – that will create space for up to 670 prisoners.

“It is important that we continue to review and plan for additional capacity, which may be needed given increasing populations, and the introduction of some higher maximum prison sentences,” said the Minister for Justice Helen McEntee.

Bodycams ‘key’

Another €26.2 million in capital funding is being allocated to garda ICT to implement key technology projects – including body-worn cameras, enhanced cyber-security, and improved vetting systems.

Minister McEntee described the roll-out of the body-worn cameras as “key to protecting front-line gardaí, key to assisting them in gathering evidence for prosecutions, and key also to modernising policing in general”.

She added that she hoped to see ‘bodycams’ in use in Dublin city centre, Waterford, and Limerick “before the summer”.

Funding is also being provided to complete existing projects, such as refurbishment works in Slane, Co Meath, and Abbeyleix, Co Laois, and the development of a new station in Bailieborough, Co Cavan.

New garda stations

Work is also underway on development of new Garda stations in Macroom, Co Cork, Clonmel, Co Tipperary, and Portlaoise, Co Laois, with construction expected to start on these projects later this year.

Funding that could be used to buy up to 15 additional electric vehicles and two public-order vehicles for gardaí in 2024 is also being made available, according to the department.

The Courts Service will receive funding for IT modernisation projects, site acquisitions, capital works, and sustainability projects.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland