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Thornton Hall – A wanton waste of taxpayers money

19 May, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Equality and Human Rights, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described as "a wanton waste of taxpayers money" the Thornton Hall Prison project which the Government announced had collapsed this evening. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said it was an "ill-conceived" and "ego driven project started by Michael McDowell and continued by Dermot Ahern".

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "The Government paid almost €30 million for the site which had a value of just six million euro. That means it was €24 million in negative equity at the time of purchase before a sod was even turned. We all know that that situation has only got worse in the last year. Added to that figure we also saw €1.3 million spent on purchasing additional land for access and then Dermot Ahern ploughed another €10.3 million on professional fees and preliminary site works including surveys, landscaping, security, site preparation and maintenance of the property.

"This represents a wanton waste of taxpayers money. There was never a logical or convincing case put forward to explain the need for a super-prison. It was an ill-conceived and ego driven project started by Michael McDowell and continued by Dermot Ahern for the golden shower of privateers they represent.

"The tragedy of this Fianna Fáil led farce is that the money wasted could have been used to actually improve prison conditions in places like Mountjoy where health and safety issues for prisoners and staff alike are very real and urgent.

"It’s time for the Fianna Fáil/Green Party Government to cut their losses and abandon this disastrous project before any more money is wasted." ENDS

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