Magilligan jail rebuild back on track with new business case to be submitted by July, says Naomi Long

An outline business case for a new jail at Magilligan is expected to be submitted by July, the Justice Minister Naomi Long has confirmed.

Monday, 31st May 2021, 1:02 pm

The long-slated redevelopment of the Co. Derry prison is back on the agenda after a series of delays and false starts over the past 15 years.

DUP MP Maurice Bradley asked the Minister of Justice this week whether a business case for the redevelopment of HMP Magilligan has been submitted.

Mrs. Long replied: “The OBC 1 for the redevelopment of the Magilligan site will be submitted to the financial services division within the next two months.”

Mr. Bradley thanked the minister for her ‘very short but definite answer’ and said ‘it is good news’ for the Co. Derry area.

As early as 2007 the late Paul Goggins - then a direct rule security minister - announced plans to build a mulit-million pound state-of-the art new jail on the Magilligan site to bring the prison estate up to modern standards.

He originally suggested it could be completed by 2015.

By 2015, with David Ford as a devolved Justice Minister, an outline business case for the redevelopment of Magilligan prison was approved by the Department of Finance. However because there was no certainly on capital funding for the project Mr. Ford told MLAs he was unable to commit to an eight-year construction programme and the project did not proceed.

There followed the three year Stormont hiatus when many projects got put on the long finger.

The project now appears to be back on track with Mrs. Long estimating that it will cost approximately £108m to redevelop Magilligan.

The jail is the second largest jail in the north after Maghaberry and holds over 450 prisoners. It is a medium to low security prison which holds male prisoners with six years or less to serve and who meet the relevant security classification.

Mrs. Long has indicated she is ‘fully supportive of the redevelopment of Magilligan Prison’.