Residents disappointed at Cork prison plan

Residents on Cork’s northside are to meet next Tuesday week to decide whether or not to co-operate with the construction of a new prison.

The replacement Cork Prison, located on state lands adjacent to the current jail, has attracted significant opposition from locals in the Glen area.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter is using legislation, which bypasses normal planning laws, to build the prison. Construction is due to start on Jan 20.

The Irish Prison Service announced the details at an information meeting for residents and local politicians on Monday night, held at the Ambassador Hotel.

During the three-hour meeting, officials said the prison will take 18 months to complete and that the build would finished by Jun 2015.

“Issues of working hours 8am to 7pm, night working, parking, traffic, and security, were discussed as well as the effects that the new prison will have on the community,” said Sinn Féin councillor for the Cork North Central ward, Thomas Gould.

“Residents were also very disappointed that issues, concerns, observations, and questions that were submitted by them were not taken into account when the plans were finalised.

“Issues with the location of the new prison, the height of the building, the height of the walls, the reduction of light into residents’ homes and back gardens as well as many more problems were raised.”

He said prison service officials had stated at the meeting that “nothing now can stop the construction work from going ahead”.

He said they had looked for residents to volunteer to liaise with them and the contractor PJ Hegarty.

“In response the residents have organised a meeting for Tuesday, Jan 21, at 7.30pm in the Glen Resource Centre to discuss if the residents should liaise with them and if so on what grounds,” said Mr Gould.

As reported last month in the Irish Examiner, PJ Hegarty won the contract for the project, valued in the region of €35m.

PJ Hegarty director Sean Carrigy said the build would create between 750 and 1,000 jobs among sub-contractors as well as significant financial spin-offs for suppliers and local businesses. This is in addition to securing the 200 jobs in the company and possible employment of additional staff.

Mr Gould called for people from the Glen and the northside to be employed in the building of the prison.

“It is the least that the people of the Glen deserve, otherwise there is no positive benefit for them,” he said.

He also called for a “social and community dividend”, in the form of an investment by the Prison Service, in the area and community.

The 150-cell modern prison is being built on derelict Prison Service lands, about 6.5 acres in size, adjacent to the current jail. It replaces a prison which has been repeatedly condemned by international and domestic watchdogs for its Dickensian conditions and chronic overcrowding.

More in this section

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.

Puzzles logo
IE-logo

Puzzles hub

Visit our brain gym where you will find simple and cryptic crosswords, sudoku puzzles and much more. Updated at midnight every day.