Saturday 27 December 2014

Historic courthouse seeks to re-open for public use, High Court hears

Aodhan O'Faolain

Published 26/03/2014 | 16:45

THE High Court will give its decision next month over an application seeking to have a historic courthouse building re-opened for public use.

In an action brought by several solicitors based in Tipperary Town against the Courts Service, the lawyers say there is statutory obligation to properly maintain and make the courthouse in their town available for use.

The courthouse has housed sittings of the local district and circuit courts since the early part of the 19th century. However, the building, a listed structure located at St Michael Street, was closed in 2010 after it fell into a state of disrepair. Part of the building's ceiling had collapsed.

Since then, District Court sittings have been held at the nearby Excel Heritage Centre while the Circuit Court is held in Clonmel.

It is claimed this has caused hardship to people using the court service in Tipperary.

In 2010 it was believed the closure would be temporary as the Department of Justice and the OPW had in 2008 agreed to undertake repairs. However the lawyers were subsequently informed the repairs would not be carried out

The Courts Service denies it has failed in its duties and despite being constrained by budget cuts it has sought funding to repair the courthouse and has provided alternative venue for the hearing of court cases.

Mr George Birmingham said he would give his decision next month.

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