Question Time - Justice Tuesday 10 June 2014

Justice Minister David Ford answered questions about "legal highs", Magilligan Prison, and hate crime.

Pat Sheehan asked about the cost of policing the long-running loyalist protest in north Belfast and stated that, "Twaddell is money wasted and is lost to other policing priorities." Minister Ford agreed, saying that money had been spent "for no good purpose whatsoever". He appealed to the demonstrators to call off their protest.

The Minister was asked what progress has been made on the proposed newbuild programme for Magilligan prison and would the Minister confirm whether the newbuild create additional and permanent employment opportunities at HMP Magilligan.
The Minister replied " Prison Service officials are nearing completion of the outline business case for the redevelopment of Magilligan prison, which will be submitted for approval within the next two months. It is DFP’s decision as to whether to grant approval for the capital funding for the project, without the approval of DFP, I cannot guarantee that the project will go ahead as I would wish, and nor can I guarantee that there will be additional employment, since one of the key issues for any newbuild will be to ensure that it is manageable in the most efficient manner possible. However, when we talk about employment, we should recognise that we have now completed the voluntary early retirement scheme, with a significant number of officers being able to leave with dignity from the services that they performed in the past, and the introduction of a significant number of new operational staff who will help to implement the planned reforms of the Prison Service.

During the 15 minutes of topical question, the Minister answered question on the Criminal Justice System, Legal Highs and Racist Attacks.

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