State to shell out €1.3m to suit and boot prison inmates over four years

The clothing is for inmates at Mountjoy and other prisons

Seán McCarthaigh

The State is to fork out more than €1.3m on new clothing and footwear for the country's prison population over the next four years.

Under existing prison regulations, prisoners are not required to wear a uniform but are supplied with a range of clothing that can be changed twice weekly.

However, in certain circumstances they may be allowed to wear their own clothing.


A contract notice has been issued by the Office of Government Procurement for tenders to supply a range of 28 different types of clothing and footwear for inmates in the 14 detention facilities operated by the Irish Prison Service.

These include Mountjoy and Portlaoise and the two female prisons in the Dochas Centre and Limerick.

It is estimated that around €1.32m will be spent on kitting-out prisoners over the term of the contract, which is for a three-year period with a maxi-mum extension of 12 months.

The annual expenditure on the cost of new clothing and footwear is calculated at €330,000.

There are around 4,000 prisoners detained at any one time in the country's jails.

Tender documents indicate suppliers will be required to provide 20,000 polo shirts in either dark green or red and 20,000 light grey tracksuits for men and nearly 2,000 similar tracksuits for women.

For outside use, more than 2,000 red anoraks have been ordered.

In relation to footwear, the contract provides for nearly 4,800 pairs of black runners and the same number in white, as well as 104,000 pairs of socks.

For nightwear, the order includes more than 550 pairs of pyjamas and 200 dressing gowns for male prisoners and nearly 1,600 nightgowns for female prisoners.

There is also a large order for boxer shorts, Y-fronts, T-shirts, vests, bras and briefs.

Bids will be assessed on a range of criteria, with cost accounting for 50pc of marks in a scoring scheme.


The successful bidder will be required to operate a warehouse of clothing and deliver items to individual jails, as well as facilitate returns.

They will be required to meet an individual list of specif- ications for each type of garment in relation to design, colour, material and scope, which can stipulate that clothes must be of various sizes and washable.

A previous contract to supply prison clothing, awarded in 2016 to Call Us, a supplier of leisurewear from Killybegs, Co Donegal, was valued at just under €550,000.