Ministers urged to fund new prison

Magilligan Prison. Picture Margaret McLaughlin �
Magilligan Prison. Picture Margaret McLaughlin �

Ministers are urged to release funding for a new-build at Magilligan prison after the discovery of asbestos.

East Londonderry DUP MLA George Robinson asked the Minister of Justice Claire Sugden “to outline what action her department has taken since closing Foyleview Buildings at HMP Magilligan following the discovery of asbestos”.

During question time on Tuesday last, she responded: “We were able to move people in that facility to other parts of the prison, so it has not had a hugely detrimental effect. However, this consolidates the view that we need to look forward to a new build at Magilligan. Indeed, that is something that I have always been committed to, but it will be subject to securing the appropriate funding.”

Pressed by Mr Robinson on whether other buildings at Magilligan were found to contain asbestos, Ms Sugden replied: “Not that I am aware of, but I am happy to come back to the Member with a written answer in case that issue arose in other buildings”.

Mr Robinson has written to Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir over funding. He said: “The decision can no longer be deferred for staff, prisoners and visitor’s health and welfare and the ball is in the Finance Minister’s court.”