herald

Saturday 22 September 2018

Supplier locks down €24m contract for jail tuck shops

That's a lot of bread ... new figures show the deal to stock the Irish Prison Service tuck shops is costing around €24m.

Food retail and wholesale giant BWG scooped the lucrative contract to supply the shops across the prison system in February.

In response to a Freedom of Information request, the Department of Justice has confirmed the cost of the two-year deal is estimated at €24m.

A spokesman said the Dublin-based firm beat off competition from Musgrave Wholesale Partner, Direct 2U Wholesalers Ltd and Horeca Foodservices.

However, officials declined to disclose their bids due to commercial sensitivity.

The deal with BWG, which operates Spar and Mace, includes an option of two further one-year extensions.

Figures show prisoners have been feasting on Tayto and chocolate with inmates at Arbour Hill enjoying Hamlet cigars since the deal was signed. That long-time staple of the Irish diet – Tayto cheese and onion crisps – are in big demand with BWG supplying more than 50,000 bags of the savoury snack since February.

The biggest Tayto fans are in Cloverhill Remand Prison where 11,520 bags of the classic snack were scoffed.

Mars bars are also a favourite with prisoners who munched their way through 25,000 of the choccie treats at 12 different tuck shops and canteens.

The statistics also revealed prisoners are particularly partial to Cadbury's Roses with BWG having supplied 474 cartons of the popular chocs.

Cadbury Heroes were also supplied to Cloverhill while the figures showed that 5,424 Bounty bars have been snapped up since February.

 

REVENUES

Tuck shops across the prison system generated revenues of more than €7.3m last year while three shops located at Mountjoy, the Midlands and Wheatfield had revenues of over €1million each. The shops operate a monopoly on the trade of cigarettes, soft drinks, newspapers, sweets and crisps and the 13 shops enjoyed combined profits of €834,655 in the 12 months to the end of December.

However, this was down from the previous year when sweet-toothed inmates helped the shops generate €7.5m in revenue with profits of €859,816.

Prisoners at the 680-bed Wheatfield Prison in Dublin made sure their shop topped the profits poll as it raked in revenue of £1m with profits of €195,497. The least profitable outlet was at the open low-security Loughan House in Co Cavan which racked up just €17,073 profit on €119,510 revenue.

Shop revenues are funded partly from the weekly gratuity prisoners receive, which ranges from €6.65 to €15.40, and can be supplemented with cash from friends and family.

No money exchanges hands between the officer manning the shop and prisoners with all transactions done on account.

hnews@herald.ie

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