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Ó Snodaigh demands investigation into prison land deal

24 March, 2005

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has demanded an investigation into the deal struck to obtain the site for the Justice Minister's new superprison in north Dublin. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said that the sale of a site close to the prison site for a significantly smaller sum of money "proves that the Minister has some very serious questions to answer."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I first called for an investigation into the prison land deal in February, after reviewing the minutes from the Mountjoy Complex Replacement Site Committee meetings, which were released following a question from myself to the Minister.

"There are a number of question marks over the purchase of the Thornton site. Reports in this morning's newspapers claim a farm four miles from the proposed prison site was sold yesterday for one-fifth of the price the Government paid, despite being significantly larger. No environmental assessment was conducted despite the vulnerable greenbelt location. The site selection process would also appear to be in breach of the standard procedures for dealing with expressions of interest or tendering for such large projects.

"I have therefore requested that the Public Accounts Committee immediately initiate an investigation into this deal, as this new information reinforces my conclusion that Minister has some very serious questions to answer. I was informed yesterday that the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee is currently considering my request."ENDS

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