The Irish Prison Service is aiming to open a “prison themed” café in Dublin city centre - staffed by former offenders.
The plan is part of a push to create jobs for ex-convicts.
In a tender published online the IPS said it was sounding out the market to gauge the level of interest and engagement from suitable operators.
The plan would house the café in a vacant building in Dublin City centre – which would be provided free of charge to the selected operator.
The prison service said the café would “employ suitably qualified people with criminal convictions who have found it difficult to gain employment as a result of their previous criminal activity.”
It will also provide “suitable memorabilia” to ensure the café retains a prison theme.
Deirdre Malone, executive director of the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) Malone said similar initiatives have been successful elsewhere.
“Well this is a new initiative for Ireland,” she said.
“This type if initiative is common in other countries – including in our nearest neighbour, the UK – it has been recognised as a really positive way to promote the further education training and employment of people coming out of prison.
“The ultimate aim of that is to reduce re-offending and also to ensure that people have stable and secure employment.”
The project is part of the Department of Justice’s “New Way Forward” strategy aimed at creating jobs for ex-offenders.