We Fork out a Further [Euro]1.3m for Thornton Prison Site
Byline: John Lee Political Editor
A BRICK has yet to be laid but the cost of the Thornton Hall prison site now stands at [euro]42.46m after the Department of Justice recently paid an additional [euro]1.3m for almost nine acres of farmland.
It has also emerged that [euro]500,000 has been spent on of landscaping and that the Government has spent a further [euro]500,000 on 'security' at the unbuilt prison.
According to the latest figures released to Labour TD Joan Burton, [euro]1.3m was recently paid for 8.7 acres of prime farmland to build a re-routed access route.
In 2005, at the height of the property boom, the Department of Justice bought the original site from farmer Richard Lynam.
He was paid [euro]29.9m for the 150-acre site in a deal that was heavily criticised by the Comptroller and Auditor General as the figure was least twice the market value.
The department paid more than [euro]200,000 per acre, where the highest paid for similar land in the area was [euro]100,000 per acre.
But local auctioneers have said that the site could have been secured for as little as [euro]6m.
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern last week admitted that it is unlikely prisoners will be housed at the white elephant before 2014.
Mr Ahern said: 'The total expenditure to end September is [euro]42.46m. This sum includes the site cost of [euro]29.9 million.
'An additional 8.7 acres has also been acquired at a cost of [euro]1.3m to provide a dedicated access route to the main prison site.' He added: '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 [euro]7.3m expended on professional fees, [euro]2.9m on site preparation and surveys, [euro]500,000 on landscaping and [euro]500,000 on security.
'The access road and underpass are scheduled to be completed during February next year.' 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. The building of the new prison campus at Thornton Hall, Kilsallaghan, Co. …