A new courthouse in North Kildare is not deemed an immediate priority by Department of Justice - Senator

Senan Hogan

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Senan Hogan

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A senator has said that the Department of Justice is prioritising a new family law centre in Dublin ahead of regional courthouses in North Kildare, Navan and Bray. 

Kilcock Courthouse ceased being used for court sittings in September 2016, initially on a temporary basis - but the courthouse was never reopened.

The Court Service said that it estimated it could cost up to €3.85 million to refurbish the Kilcock building and bring it up to the standards required for the Courts Service.

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee told the Dáil last September that the construction of a standard county town type court facilities was planned in North Kildare as part of the Government's National Development Plan (NDP) 2018 - 2027. 

However Senator Shane Casssels said in the Seanad on Friday last that a family law centre in Dublin is being prioritised ahead of three regional courthouses including in North Kildare. 

He said: "In a response to me, the Minister for Justice noted that while the three regional courthouses [in North Kildare, Bray and Navan] are part of the NDP, the proposed family law facility at Hammond Lane in Dublin city centre has taken priority.

"That facility is undoubtedly much needed but the site has been a crater for a decade or more and is being used as a compound by the developer.

"The last time representatives of the Courts Service were before the Committee of Public Accounts, the cost of providing the project had escalated to €140 million, an increase of €100 million on the costing in 2015. There is only €15 million in the capital budget for court facilities.

"I ask that projects such as the courthouse in Navan, which are in the NDP, are not sacrificed in favour of this other major facility or put on the shelf because every spare euro for capital works is to be allocated to a project whose costs have already spiralled before a sod has been turned.

"The site of the Hammond Lane project is still a hole in the ground. We can deliver projects at a fraction of the cost of the €140 million earmarked for that facility, while also delivering regional balance."