Saturday, 17 February 2007

Prison road confusion requires clarity

This from the Meath Chronicle:

A CALL has been made to the Minister for Justice to clear up confusion regarding plans for the access road to the new prison site at Thornton Hall, outside Ashbourne.
Deputy Shane McEntee pointed out that, when the minister announced his proposals for Thornton Hall, he said that the access road to the prison, which passes by the local Kilcoskan National School, was adequate to meet the needs of the new prison.
“He has now thrown the local community into further confusion by suggesting in reply to a recent Dail question that an alternate access road to the prison is being contemplated,” said Deputy McEntee.
In the Dail recently, Minister Michael McDowell said that the existing road was fully adequate to meet the requirements imposed by the development but said he had undertaken to give full consideration to the question of providing a separate dedicated access in response to the matter being raised with him by local interests.
“I am calling on the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, to clarify for the people living in the vicinity of the prison site what are his plans for access to the site. The decision to locate the prison at Thornton Hall has torn the heart
out of the local community. The confusion surrounding access to the prison site must be cleared up immediately by Minister McDowell,” he said.
Deputy McEntee said that decision to locate the new prison at Thornton Hall on the Dublin/Meath border was made without consultation with local residents.
“The area where the prison is to be located currently lacks the basic infrastructure to cope even with its existing needs. It beggars belief how the area will cope with the road, water, sewerage, transport, power and other infrastructure requirements for a project of this magnitude,” he added.

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