No plan to sell old Cork prison despite €500k spend

No plan to sell old Cork prison despite €500k spend
The old Cork Prison closed in 2016. Picture Dan Linehan

MORE than half a million euro has been spent on the old Cork Prison since it closed in 2016.

Despite the spending, the Irish Prison Service has now confirmed that there are no plans to either sell or develop the site in the near future, adding that the location is no longer fit to be used for films or other such artistic projects.

€500,000 has been spent on the old Cork Prison since it closed. Picture: Cillian Kelly
€500,000 has been spent on the old Cork Prison since it closed. Picture: Cillian Kelly

The venue has now fallen into disrepair and a spokesman for the IPS said that more expenditure would be required to bring it up to standards to make it viable for filming.

It was used as the location for Maze, the film starring Tom Vaughan Lawlor about the 1983 prison escape.

Figures provided to the Evening Echo through the Freedom of Information Act reveal that €175,870 has been spent on demolition work at the site, while a total of €380,425 has been spent on utilities for the building on Rathmore Road. The new prison has been opened next to the former prison.

Sinn Féin’s Cllr Thomas Gould said that residents in the Glen area had hoped that the old site would be developed into a playground or a park, or else used as a training or education centre. But a spokesman for the IPS said: “There are no plans whatsoever. We have no need for it. In terms of the facility, it is in State ownership and it is in a prime location. It could have potential use in the future but we have absolutely no plans for it.”

He said it was used as a location for two films and was also a venue for the 1916 centenary commemorations.

But he continued: “It has not been used apart from that. As the prison lies idle, it has now become unusable and there are no plans to use it for future films. The costs associated with bringing it back into a useful state would be too much.”

Since it has closed, the bill for Bord Gáis Energy has been €6,016, while hygiene company Canore Ltd has been paid €1,453.

A scene from Maze starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor shot in the old Cork Prison last year. The building is no longer suitable as a filming location.
A scene from Maze starring Tom Vaughan-Lawlor shot in the old Cork Prison last year. The building is no longer suitable as a filming location.

Cork City Council received a once off payment of €23,862 in 2016.

Waste disposal costs have totalled €9,193 and Irish Water costs stand at €231.

The highest cost to the State for the building is estate management, at €182,588 to date. The supply of electricity by Energia Ltd is €157,080.

The grounds of the historic building was home to the grave of nationalist Thomas Kent from Castlelyons, until his remains were exhumed and re-interred in Castlelyons in 2016.

The site was opened one last time to the public in May 2016 to allow people visit the former grave of the revolutionary.

Cllr Gould said the connections with Thomas Kent had also resulted in hope among locals that it could be developed as a tourist attraction.

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