The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today officially opened the new Letterkenny Courthouse. The opening ceremony was also attended by the Chief Justice, Mr Frank Clarke.

 

Speaking at the opening, Minister Flanagan said: “I am delighted to be here in Letterkenny on this landmark day – the official opening of a new state of the art courthouse. As a solicitor in practice for many years, I know this is a significant day for the local legal community. And from a wider community perspective, I am keenly aware of the importance of the local courthouse. For some, a court can be an intimidating place as so often the courthouse is a place where life changing decisions occur. The court deals with many different, complex and sensitive issues that affect people’s lives and so to have a local courthouse, a place that is accessible, modern and user-friendly, is really important.”

 

Local courthouses are a major priority of the Government. Letterkenny Courthouse, a €19.7 million euro project, is the second new courthouse to be completed under a Public Private Partnership project announced in 2012 and PPPs will deliver new courthouses or substantial refurbishments in five further locations around the country in 2018. In terms of scale, the Courts PPP Bundle project is the largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service, delivering a total of 31 courtrooms and 36,000 m2 of accommodation nationwide.

 

The Minister added: “The opening of this new courthouse in Letterkenny is an example of the Government’s commitment to improve access to justice and it illustrates the work that has been done with the Courts Service and the Judiciary in this regard. I am looking forward to the opening of the remaining completed courthouses later this year, with new courthouses in Wexford and Limerick set to be officially opened in the coming weeks. These new and refurbished courthouses are a lasting testament to the commitment of the Courts Service Board and the Courts Service staff to the delivery of improved standards and services to all.”

 

In addition to updating the Courts infrastructure, the Government has also prioritised reform of the courts and the legal system with the establishment of the new Court of Appeal, the new Legal Services Regulatory Authority, and the new Office of the Legal Costs Adjudicator which is currently transitioning from the Office of the Taxing Master with further reform to include plans to establish a dedicated Family Court within existing court structures.

 

ENDS

 

Note to editors:

 

New Letterkenny Courthouse

The new Letterkenny Courthouse has a floor area of over 5,000m2. Facilities include four courtrooms and public office. User facilities are a big upgrade from the old courthouse and include two vulnerable witness suites, victim support room, legal practitioners room, enhanced custody facilities, jury reception room, media room and consultation rooms. All circulation routes within the building – public, staff/judiciary, custody and jury - are fully accessible. Court sittings commenced on 2nd January 2018. It is the second building in the Courts PPP Bundle to become operational – sittings in Drogheda commenced in July 2017.

 

Courts PPP Bundle

In July 2012 the Government announced a €2.25bn infrastructure stimulus programme which included the construction or extension/refurbishment of seven courthouses (called the ‘Courts PPP Bundle’) as follows:

 

 

Location

 

Courthouse Buildings

Existing Area

New Area

Total Area2

Drogheda,  Co. Louth

A    new    courthouse    consisting    of    two

courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a landmark town centre site adjacent to the River Boyne.

0m2

1,354m2

1,354m2

Letterkenny,

Co. Donegal

A  new  courthouse  to   accommodate   four

courtrooms  and  associated  facilities  to  be constructed on a town centre site close to the

existing courthouse.

0m2

5,027m2

5,027m2

Limerick City

A new criminal courthouse to be built on a

site adjacent to Limerick Prison, to include six courtrooms,                custody      facilities,       court

offices and associated facilities.

259m2

7,350m2

7,609m2

Wexford

Town

The   refurbishment   and   extension   of   an

existing landmark building to provide a new courthouse for Wexford Town consisting of four courtrooms, Custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

430m2

4,272m2

4,702m2

Cork City

The   refurbishment   and   extension   of   the

existing   landmark   courthouse   building   at Anglesea             Street     to            accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, the regional office and associated facilities.

1,556m2

6,934m2

8,490m2

Mullingar, Co.

Westmeath

The   refurbishment   and   extension   of   the

existing historic courthouse in Mullingar to accommodate   three   courtrooms,   improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,798m2

1,459m2

3,257m2

Waterford

City

The   refurbishment   and   extension   of   the

existing historic courthouse in Waterford to accommodate    six           courtrooms improved

custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,133m2

5,259m2

6,392m2

Totals

5,176m2

31,655m2

36,831m2