Magilligan Prison to close by 2018

Published Monday, 23 April 2012
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Northern Ireland's second largest prison, HMP Magilligan in Co Londonderry, is set to close by 2018.

Magilligan Prison to close by 2018
A 240-cell block at Maghaberry is to be set up in the short term. (© UTV)

The Prison Estates Review is recommending that a new medium security jail is built closer to Maghaberry Prison within the next six years.

It is part of a programme of reforms that could cost almost £250m.

Justice Minister David Ford said they are aimed at developing a modern, "fit for purpose" prison estate for the region.

"Some of our prison estate is reaching the end of its working life and this strategy addresses what our options are to maintain secure custody for the prison population," the Alliance minster said.

"The strategy proposes that a new medium security prison should be developed in a central location and Magilligan Prison decommissioned from 2018 onwards.

"The strategy also proposes that in the short-term we build a new 240 cell accommodation block at Maghaberry with longer term plans to zone the prison based on security requirements."

HMP Magilligan, was opened in 1972 close to Limavady in the north west and has an operational capacity of 452 prisoners.

The DUP says that with £4m already spent on the site, and further £2m spend proposed in the Prison Estate strategy, it would be "ludicrous" to close it down.

East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell said: "It is sensible both economically and also logistically to have a prison in the north west as well as a prison in the east of the province.

"This facility provides crucial employment in that community and such concerns should be to the forefront of this Alliance Minister's mind as he considers the Strategy.

"It would be ludicrous to spend £6million on the existing site, close it and then buy land to build a new Prison".

Paul Givan, DUP Chairman of the Justice Committee, added: "No-one is opposed to spending money to ensure that our prisons are secure and fit for purpose, however my constituents will question if it is appropriate to spend £250m on improving facilities for criminals at a time when hospitals and schools are facing pressures."

Plans for the future of Northern Ireland's prisons are to be discussed at the Justice Committee at Stormont on Thursday.

© UTV News
Comments Comments
william mckee former governor in Belfast wrote (988 days ago):
I find it ridiculous that the Justice Department is considering closing Magilligan, yet is still planning to spend 2 million despite the fact it is due to close in 2018. The closing of the prison will not only cause unemployment in the area but also take many thousands of pounds out of the local economy. It is not just the salaries that will be missed from the local area but also the incomes of the various suppliers to the prison. The immediate area has suffered greatly during the down turn with the closure of other large employers and this latest news will be a massive blow. The other factor which must not be forgotton is that the land where Magilligan is situated belongs to the service so why on earth would the justice deapartment authorize spending an estimated £65 million buying land and building a new prison? David Ford continues to dissapoint!
Peter in Armagh wrote (1,012 days ago):
Repartition seems to be the hidden agenda in a lot of these decisions to close so many services and governmental facilities west of the Bann. Maybe that's why there's to be a new dual-carriageway running from Dublin to Derry, Dublin will be governing Newry and south Armagh, Derry, Fermanagh and Tyrone.
dave in north coast wrote (1,012 days ago):
Is anyone else tired of stormont repeatedly kicking the north coasts population when they're down yet? The catering college closure, the DVA job threat, the Causeway Hospital Acute threat, the removal of acclaimed courses from UUC and delay to any form of inward investment, or road infrastructure improvements (so we can all go 60+ miles to Belfast where all the jobs are going), or 42 miles to Antrim to access an A+E! Now 400 jobs at Magilligan, which over time WILL slowly be lost to the area following relocation, travel expenses or no travel expenses. Add to this the ongoing brutal loss of private sector employment and the number of local businesses barely hanging on by their fingernails who depend on the public sector salaries presently the area which we face losing. I sometimes think we were very genuinely better looked after as a region by far before the assembly.
Patrick in Lisburn wrote (1,012 days ago):
Yet more tax payers money to be wasted by the Justice Minister. Would be better spent on creating jobs, education and the health service.
Arthur Daly in Limavady wrote (1,012 days ago):
Another blow to the North West ! When is the Northern Ireland Government going to stop pulling jobs down to Belfast and bring some good news to the North West ! Ever Week over this last two years it has been doom and gloom for the North West! when is someone going to stand up for the people and bring jobs and stop wasting money ! In October the Local paper reported " Migilligan Prison was found to be the best function of all three in Northern Ireland " !
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