Wednesday, 15 December 2010
Dáil Éireann Debate
159. Deputy Noel Ahern asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform the position regarding the new prison at the Thornton Hall site in north County Dublin; the original site purchase cost of same; other costs spent to date; the cost of the recent contract for a perimeter wall and phase 1 and what was included in same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47572/10]
Minister for Justice and Law Reform (Deputy Dermot Ahern): As the Deputy will be aware the development of the new prison campus at Thornton Hall, Kilsallaghan, County Dublin is now proceeding on a phased basis. Phase one, which is currently in progress, comprises essential preliminary works to facilitate the prison development including the construction of a dedicated access road, the installation of off-site services and the construction of the perimeter wall of the prison. The second phase of the project involves the provision of 400 cells along with related support facilities suitable to accommodate up to 700 prisoners. Subsequent phases of the project will see the provision of the balance of the 1,000 cells providing a total of 1,400 cells when completed with operational flexibility to accommodate up to 2,200 prisoners, thus future proofing the development.
The contract for the construction of the access road to serve the prison development was awarded to SIAC Construction Limited in July 2010. Construction work is already well underway with the access road and underpass scheduled to be completed during February next year. Off-site Works
I am pleased to advise the Deputy that the contract for the installation of the off-site services to serve the prison development was awarded to P.J. Hegarty and Sons recently. Construction work on the installation of the off-site services is scheduled to commence immediately and will take approximately eight months to complete.
The procurement process for the design and construction of the perimeter security wall of the prison is already in progress. A pre-qualification competition for the design and construction of the perimeter security wall of the prison and related works issued on the E-tenders web site in August 2010. Twenty submissions were received and the evaluation of these submissions has been completed. Five companies have been short-listed and tender documents for the construction of the perimeter security wall and ancillary works issued to these contractors last month. Tenders are due to be returned next month. Construction of the perimeter wall is scheduled to commence in the first quarter of 2011 and will take just under a year to complete.
As I mentioned previously in the House, my priority is to provide good quality regime focussed prison accommodation at Thornton Hall prison campus as quickly as possible. A phased development of the prison campus is now being pursued. The next phase of the works will see the procurement of prison accommodation blocks and related support facilities commencing in the new year using traditional procurement methods. It makes sense to tender for the construction of these much needed prison facilities now in an environment where construction costs have fallen significantly.
In relation to expenditure on the project, the total expenditure to end November was €43.3 million. This sum includes the site cost of €29.9 million. The cost of the site was almost completely offset by the sale of surplus prison lands at Shanganagh, County Dublin, for €29 million. An additional 8.7 acres has also been acquired at a cost of €1.3 million to provide a dedicated access route to the main prison site. This was done following representations from the local community which reflected concern in relation to the potential effect of increased traffic generated by the prison development.
This sum also includes €7.4 million expended on professional fees, €2.9 million on site preparation and various surveys, €0.5 million on landscaping and €0.5 million on security. As is the case with all major infrastructure projects, a comprehensive set of geological, engineering, archaeological and environmental surveys have been undertaken at the site in order to advance the construction programme for the development. These surveys will enable the Irish Prison Service to accelerate the timeframe for the construction of the first phase of the prison buildings to a maximum of two years.
As at end of November 2010, €0.8m had been expended on the construction of the access road and no construction costs had been incurred on the off-site works contract. As the tender for the perimeter security wall and related works is in progress and has not been awarded yet, no construction costs have been incurred on this element of the phase one works to date.
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