Longford/Westmeath TD, Gabrielle McFadden, has been informed by the Courts Service that the contract to refurbish Mullingar Courthouse is set to be signed in the final quarter of 2015 and that construction work will commence soon afterwards.
“After raising this issue in the Dáil, I received this information courtesy of Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald who made enquiries with the Courts Service.
“The Courts Service has said that the planning for the proposed refurbishment of the courthouse is at an advanced stage and I understand that the construction work, when it gets underway, will be completed during 2017.
“The proposed refurbishment of Mullingar Courthouse is one of seven projects included in a Courts Bundle which is to be delivered by way of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Courts Service stated this bundle is currently in a procurement process which is being managed by the National Development Finance Agency.
“It is imperative that this project is progressed as soon as possible. For the past 6 years, all Westmeath Circuit Court criminal cases have been heard at the courthouse in Tullamore and this has proved to be a huge inconvenience for many people, not to mention the loss of business to the Mullingar economy.
“The Courts Service is currently looking at possible alternative locations for court sittings in Mullingar once construction work commences on the new courthouse.
“I have been informed that one possible location being considered is the use of accommodation within the Columb Barracks site in Mullingar. I understand that the Courts Service is in discussions on this matter with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Defence.
“The Courts Service has said it has a limited budget for any works that might be necessary to make an alternative venue suitable for court use but whatever decision is made, I want to emphasise here that the venue must be in Mullingar.”