There are calls for the retention and expansion of the Office of Inspector of Prisons in Nenagh.
This is a service which supports the outcomes of prisons through programmes of inspection and investigation and has an office in both North Tipp and Dublin.
However, local TD Jackie Cahill says that the service’s remit is about to expand to cover courts and Garda Stations, while at the same time the Dublin office will not be retained.
He is now calling for the service to be decentralised and as well as retaining their Nenagh Office expanding that and employing more staff in Tipperary.
Speaking to Justice Minister Simon Harris he argued that this would be cost effective and be easily accessible to people nationwide:
“It is not necessary to an office in the vicinity of St Stephen’s Green to operate effectively. This important body can operate effectively if not more effectively in a rural town location. I would urge the minister when the question of resources is being discussed and the location of this office we have an office in Nenagh for the last 12 years the opportunity to expand this office is now there, the number of staff will be significantly increase. I would urge the Minister to continue with the tradition of having the inspector of prisons in Nenagh.”
In response while Minister Harris acknowledged that there would need to be more resources put into the service he would not be drawn on whether or not that would be in Nenagh :
“I do want the Deputy to know, and I hear the points he makes clearly int eh House this evening, but decision in this regard will be made in due course. I have committed to publish the bill as soon as is possible to do so. So that I can proceed to enactment without undue delay and allow for the ratification if OPCAT. In this context my Department will be continuing to engage closely with the inspector of prisons about what is needed now and into the future and to ensure that the needs identified will be objectively assessed by the OPW so that the best solution to meet the requirements can be identified.”