New bail law next year, says O'Donoghue


The Government should be able to implement the bail referendum next year, according to the Minister for Justice, Mr O'Donoghue.

"I believe that it should be possible for Government to make a decision in relation to the implementation of the bail referendum following the opening of Clover hill and before the opening of Midlands Prison."

Mr O'Donoghue was speaking after the announcement that an extra wing is to be built at Portlaoise Prison, to be called the Midlands Prison. The extra wing will add 115 spaces to the 400 planned, making it the largest prison outside Dublin.

It is believed the wing will cost £7 million, or more than £60,000 per prison space, and it should be available three months after the rest of the prison is built.

The 400-space remand prison at Cloverhill, beside Wheatfield prison in Dublin, is due for completion early next year. Mr O'Donoghue said the Government will have exceeded its commitment to building 1,000 prison spaces in the first two years of office. In a statement, Mr O'Donoghue said the prison building programme would end the "so-called revolving door syndrome that has bedevilled and undermined the effective operation of our prison system".