Page last updated at 16:57 GMT, Tuesday, 8 May 2012 17:57 UK

Prison Service Lisnevin site in Millisle

The DUP's Alex Easton proposed the debate on the future of the Prison Service on the Lisnevin site in Millisle, on 8 May 2012.

He said he brought the issue to the assembly because local residents had become increasingly concerned about the future plans for the site.

Mr Easton said there were rumours circulating in the community that it would be reopened as a prison to house dissident republicans, young offenders and female prisoners.

He said this was the minister's chance to "step up and put residents minds at ease".

Support on the issue came from the UUP's Leslie Cree and the DUP's Peter Weir.

Mr Weir said the site was very remote and would need a lot of work to come up to standard if it was to be used as a prison once again.

Responding to the debate, Justice Minister David Ford said: "I can't believe that members of this house think I can give a fair answer before we've even had a consultation on the prisoner estate strategy".

Alban Maginness intervened and urged the minister to reveal the draft strategy but Mr Ford concluded that there were no current plans for the site and that any future proposals would be subject to consultation.

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