Praxiteles wrote:But is that not the firing range? And what are the locals going to say about all that?
Irish Examiner > 2006/11/23 >
Army camp a contender for super-prison
The 1,200-acre camp, located close to the M8 motorway between Mitchelstown and Fermoy, has been surveyed in recent weeks by the Department of Justice and the Prisons Service with a view to assessing its suitability as the so-called â€œsuper-prisonâ€ for Munster. The new prison is expected to house as many as 500 prisoners.
However, if Kilworth were to be selected, the prison would take up only a portion of the huge site, with the Defence Forces remaining in situ on the remaining part of the facility, which is also known as Lynch Camp.
Last night, a Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed that a proposal to locate the new prison at Kilworth is currently being examined by officials.
â€œNo decision has yet been made,â€ the spokesperson pointed out, however.
Until now, Spike Island had been perceived as the likely location for the new prison â€” and was thought to be the preferred option of the Department of Justice.
But the proposal was harshly criticised by Cork east Fianna FÃ¡il TD Ned Oâ€™Keeffe on the basis that such a large-scale development on the island, involving so many prisoners, was inappropriate.
Last weekend, his party colleague in the constituency, Junior Minister Michael Ahern, also expressed strong criticism of the proposed location.
During a recent visit to Cork, TÃ¡naiste Michael McDowell said he was open to consider other options besides Spike Island but none had come forward. In so doing, the minister indicated that no definite decision had been taken to locate the prison on Spike Island.
Contacted by the Irish Examiner last night, Mr Oâ€™Keeffe reacted by saying he was totally opposed to the proposed location of the prison at Kilworth.
â€œThis is a surprise. As the local deputy I am dismayed that I have not been consulted. I will need to communicate with my constituents if that is the case,â€ he said.
â€œI am sure that many people in the Kilworth, Mitchelstown and Fermoy areas will be disturbed. I do not believe this site is a suitable location for such a large prison. I do not want it foisted on the people of that area,â€ he said.
Last May, Spike Island was first proposed as the location of the new prison, two years after the complex on the site closed its doors. However, local residents immediately mounted a campaign against the proposal.
Earlier this month, Mr McDowell said he expected to make a decision soon on the location for the prison in Munster.
Campaigners have said if the islandâ€™s tourism potential was tapped properly, it could become Irelandâ€™s version of Alcatraz.