The Ulster Unionist Party has welcomed an indication from the Justice Minister that the future of HMP Magilligan may not yet be decided.
Party Justice spokesperson, Tom Elliott MLA said:
“The potential closure of HMP Magilligan in favour of a new prison built closer to Belfast has long been a concern for my Party and I. The Justice Minister’s indication that he is now open to the idea of Magilligan Prison remaining open is positive news.’
“When I questioned the Minister today on whether the retention of Magilligan would result in a new build or reconfiguration of the current site he indicated that it would lead to new builds for some areas of the current Magilligan site. This will be a more cost effective measure than a complete new build at another location, so the retention of Magilligan is good news all round, especially for the economy in the surrounding area.’
Limavady Councillor Edwin Stevenson welcomed news that could save jobs in the area
“The closure of Magilligan would see around £10million being lost from the local economy in Limavady and surrounding towns. This would have horrendous consequences. There are just over 400 jobs which are directly dependent on Magilligan, so news that the Justice Minister appears to be indicating that its fate it not yet sealed will be welcome to those who had been left in a precarious position.’
“The Ulster Unionist Party still believes that it is vital that Magilligan is not closed, given the important role it plays within the Northern Ireland Prison Service Estate. We will continue to ensure that the case is put forward to the Justice Minister for the retention of Magilligan.’