Officials consider CPOs for prison sites

€30 million for some land that really should have cost alot less. That is more or less the story in relation to the new prison being built in North County Dublin. It was €32 million but the skillful civil servants got him down to €30. For comparison:

Some €2.9 million was paid to Mr Lynam when the deal was agreed in January. The outstanding €27 million was paid last Friday. Mr McDowell has asked officials in his department to review the current situation which does not allow sites for new prisons to be compulsorily purchased by the State.

The Government is facing sustained pressure over the €30 million price it paid for the 150-acre site at Thornton Hall. The Opposition has claimed the State paid around five times more than the land was worth, and there have been calls for a public inquiry.

Eight weeks after Thornton Hall was acquired, a 190-acre farm in Ratoath, Co Meath – less than four miles from the new prison site – sold for €6.2 million. A 157-acre farm at Garristown, Co Meath, is currently down for auction with a €3 million guide price.

Fine Gael’s spokesman on justice Jim O’Keeffe TD said yesterday the Government should have reviewed the possibility of using CPOs for prisons “long before” Thornton Hall.

And now McDowell is reviewing the possible use of CPO’s to buy land for prison. Bit late now isn’t it?