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Monday 24 October 2016

'Once-in-a-generation' €135m project will see seven new courthouses nationwide

Ed Carty

Published 19/12/2015 | 19:45

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Seven new courthouses are being built with plans for them to hear the first cases in 2017.

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In what Courts Service chiefs are calling a once-in-a-generation investment, the 135 million euro project will see work begin in the new year on new courts in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Limerick and Wexford and the modernising of buildings in Cork, Mullingar and Waterford.

Chief Justice Susan Denham said the courts will offer a future of a great change.

"The investment in these seven projects is the largest single investment in regional court structures in the history of the state," she said.

"These projects will bring world-class court facilities to each city or town. Each new courthouse will be of a standard befitting the serious nature of the business conducted there, and respectful of the dignity of the people who are called upon to appear in court, in any capacity."

Construction work will begin early next month and take up to 24 months to complete with the Courts Service marking 2017 for the first cases to be heard.

About 700 construction jobs will be sustained in the build.

Separately a new state-of-the-art Family & Children's Court complex is being planned for Hammond Lane in Dublin.

Facilities in the new venues will include video-conferencing, digital recording and electronic display of evidence in court rooms, public spaces, consultation rooms and waiting areas, juror facilities and dedicated rooms for lawyers and the media.

There will also be accommodation for witnesses, victims and their relatives with greater emphasis put on privacy, security and comfort, the Courts Service said.

"These projects will set a new standard for court facilities in Ireland, operating with a flexibility and security, providing suitable, modern accommodation for all court users," a spokesman for the Courts Service said.

The construction is being done under a public private partnership with the BAM group.

Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said: "This Government has proved itself to be one of the most reforming in the history of the State when it comes to the courts and the legal system.

"It is only right that as we update our laws and legal systems that we also update our courts infrastructure."

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