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Saturday 1 November 2014

Traffic vibrations may have caused collapse

DAMAGED CEILING KEEPS COURTHOUSE CLOSED

JOHN MANNING

Published 11/09/2012 | 17:10

After a preliminary examination last week, the OPW will visit Swords courthouse again this week so that a structural engineer can assess the damage.

PRELIMINARY investigations into the collapse of the ceiling inside Swords Courthouse have blamed traffic vibrations for the damage that has shut the building down.

The courthouse failed to open for business this month after the summer break when it was discovered that the ceiling had fallen in. September has seen business from the courthouse move to three dedicated sittings of Blanchardstown District Court making life difficult for Gardaí in Swords as well as legal teams and their clients. The Fingal Independent understands that a preliminary examination of the damage to the courthouse was undertaken by the Office of Public Works (OPW) last week. Another visit is planned this week when a structural engineer will carry out a more detailed survey of the damage so that the OPW can estimate the cost and duration of repairs. In the meantime the 19th century courthouse will remain closed and the business of Swords District Court will continue to be heard in Blanchardstown. There have been talks of building a new courthouse in Swords for years but with the recession, those plans have been put firmly on the backburner. For more than a decade, users of the out-dated facilities at Swords Court have complained about conditions in the busy courtroom. Well known Swords solicitor, John Hennessy has described the building as ' Mickey Mouse' and said it ' looks like a kip'. Back in 2002, Judge Sean MacBride described conditions at the courthouse in Swords as 'Dickensian'.

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