Saturday 17 August 2019

Still no date for works to reopen the courthouse

Wicklow Courthouse
Wicklow Courthouse

Myles Buchanan

Works which were due to begin at Wicklow Courthouse in 2018 now aren't likely to start until near the end of this year, at the every earliest.

At the start of 2018, it was announced that Wicklow Courthouse would be included in the ten-year capital plan, paving the way for demolition works that would allow for a planned extension, with the works due to start during the opening months of that year.

Those works never took place and in February of this year the Court Services issued a statement saying it was 'hoped' that demolition works would proceed in 2019.

Deputy Pat Casey has expressed his disappointment with the delay, pointing out that the procurement process hasn't even began yet.

'It's very disappointing, especially when you consider all the great work the Town Team are carrying out. One of their key aims is to rejuvenate the town, and that includes the restoration of court services in Wicklow town. The procurement process hasn't even started yet, and that can often prove a stumbling block. It takes 12 to 18 months just to get it through. If it hasn't even started yet then you are looking at 2020, probably 2021, before works even start. It's in the programme of works, along with six or so other court houses, but it still hasn't received the go ahead,' said Deputy Casey.

The building has been sitting vacant since 2010 when the district court moved to Bray due to health and safety concerns at the courthouse. Circuit court sittings had already relocated from Wicklow to Bray in 2008.

Deputy John Brady has also criticised the delays and lack of information from the Court Services.

'Due to huge pressures on the court service in Bray a decision was taken to reopen the closed courthouse in Wicklow town,' said Deputy Brady. 'The plan is to extend and refurbish the courthouse in Wicklow town to provide a significantly larger four courtroom venue together with a range of facilities for staff, the judiciary, persons in custody, jurors, legal professionals, other state agencies and members of the public.

'Unfortunately not only has a clear timeframe for the reopening of the courthouse not been outlined, the works to facilitate it have been kicked down the road again. This is bitterly disappointing and shows clearly the interest the government has in Wicklow town,' he said.

Wicklow People