Repairs needed to Kanturk courthouse 'before it's too late'
'This is perhaps one of the finest buildings in the area'
The former courthouse in Kanturk must be converted and refurbished for full-time use by the local community "before it falls into complete total disrepair".
That's the view of Cork North West Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan, who has raised the condition of the building with the courts service and has said he also intends to bring the issue up in a motion on the floor of Dáil Eireann.
The landmark building has lain mostly idle since 2010 when the local District Court services was transferred to Mallow, bringing to a close more than 180-years of its use as a courthouse. Speaking to The Corkman, Deputy Moynihan said it was vitally important that action be taken to repair the building and put it into full-time use before it is too late.
"In recent weeks there have been a number of incidents of vandalism there, resulting in significant damage to the building. I have contacted the Courts Service and it is extremely important that the building is secured and protected," said Deputy Moynihan.
He said the courthouse had great historical significance to Kanturk and it was imperative it be preserved and made available for use by the local community.
"This is perhaps one of the finest buildings in the area and it is being left to, quite literally, fall down when there are numerous local voluntary organisations who are in urgent need of their own dedicated facilities," said Deputy Moynihan.
He pointed to the fact that the building has been used to house exhibitions and events during the Kanturk Arts Festival, saying this was just one example of how it could be put to good use.
"There are a number of voluntary groups such as the Scouts and the Men's Shed who are desperately looking for a permanent home. I realise the courthouse is a protected structure, but I'm sure that a viable plan could be drawn up for its future use," said Deputy Moynihan.
"Anything would be preferable to letting the current situation drag on.
"We need to do something with this building and put it to god use before it is too late. It would be a shame if it was allowed to fall into total disrepair when it could be put to good use," he added.
This is not the first time the issue has been brought up, with Deputy Moynihan's brother, Cllr Bernard Moynihan, raising it at Cork County Council level back in 2015.
At the time the Kanturk/Mallow district officer, Liz Donovan, pointed out that in 2012 the local authority had consulted with the courts service and IRD Duhallow on a proposal to redevelop the building.
"At the time it was acknowledged the building required remedial works from a health and safety perspective," she said.
"There is already a line of communication established between ourselves and the courts service in relation to this issue and we will continue to work with them to look at options for its future use," Ms Donovan told Cllr Moynihan.