A well -established Naas solicitor and local election candidate is concerned that moving Naas Court sittings from the town until November will impact businesses.
Extensive roof works are due to begin on July 15, at Naas Courthouse due to health and safety concerns. The roof of the courthouse on the Main St will be completely refurbished. The expected completion date is November 15, next. Court sittings for Naas and Kilcock will now be shared between Athy and Naas Racecourse.
However, fears are mounting that the work may not be finished on time. Mr Brian Larkin pointed out that more than three years on, Kilcock court sittings are still being held in Naas, because the necessary refurbishment works have still not been carried out on the Kilcock building.
Mr Larkin said: “I am working in Naas a long time, moving the courthouse to the RaceCourse is something that I have never heard of before. Bringing court sittings down to Athy will mean loss of business for the town, I understand that works need to be carried out. But the works could be a long process, I would not be surprised if it goes beyond November, we are still waiting for the National Childrens' Hospital.”
He says that Naas restaurants and bars are likely to suffer the consequences of moving the courthouse from the town.
He said: “It is a pity that an alternative business could not be found in the town. This is taking away from the town.”
Mr Larkin is also concerned that people facing charges before the court may not be able to access the sittings easily.
He said: “Some of the people coming before the courts are from disadvantaged backgrounds and do not have a car.”
A Naas Courthouse spokesperson said: “Naas Racecourse has agreed to accommodate most of the relocated District Courtsittings, all Circuit Court sittings and all County Registrar Motion Courts for the duration of the works.Some of the relocated District court sittings will be held in Athy for some of the dates during these works. It is anticipated that all vacation and out of hours courts will also sit in Athy. The Court public Office will remain open and will be accessible through the Basin street entrance.”