Costello Slams Gov Decision to Refuse Mater Access to Mountjoy Site

10 January 2006

by Cllr Joe Costello

The Labour Party Spokesperson on Justice and TD for Dublin Central, Joe Costello, has criticised the reported decision of the government not to offer any of the 20 acre Mountjoy Jail to the Mater Hospital to facilitate urgently needed and long delayed development at the hospital. “There is a crying need for additional space to allow the proposed development of the Mater Hospital to go ahead. Apart from the planned new A&E Department, space is also urgently needed to allow for the provision of a new children’s hospital to replace Temple St, a project that has been promised for almost ten years. “The Mountjoy site is directly across the road from the Mater and would offer an ideal solution to their space problem without costing the state anything in real terms. It is also not unreasonable, if Mountjoy is to close, that the local community should benefit in some way. Unfortunately Ministers McDowell and Parlon seem to share the ideological obsession of their Leader, Mary Harney, with selling off state lands, regardless of whether or not there is a case for keeping them in public ownership. “I welcome the indications today that Minister McDowell has now backed off from his original plan to raze all buildings and clear the entire Mountjoy site. I hope that the Minister will now lift his ban on Dublin City Council conservation officials and allow them access to the prison so that every effort can be made to preserve those parts of Mountjoy that constitute a significant element in our political and penal history.”