Dáil Éireann - Volume 441 - 14 April, 1994
Adjournment Debate. - Ballincollig (Cork) District Court Sittings.
Mr. B. O'Keeffe Mr. B. O'Keeffe
Mr. B. O'Keeffe: The District Court in Ballincollig was held in the community centre until last year when the District Justice found the premises unsuitable and asked that certain repairs be carried out. The court has been transferred in the intervening period to Whitechurch community centre, a round trip of 20 miles from Ballincollig. There is no direct bus service from Ballincollig to whitechurch — people from Ballincollig have to get a bus into the city and then get the bus to Whitechurch.
Last Friday 300 cases were listed for the District Court in Whitechurch, 150 of  which were down to be heard. This meant that 150 people from Ballincollig had to travel to the court in Whitechurch. Apart from the cost, this is an unnecessary disturbance. More seriously, Ballincollig Garda station has a complement of 17 gardaí, 11 of whom were tied up at the court in Whitechurch last Friday. I dread to think what would have happened if there had been a disaster or a robbery in Ballincollig during that time. The local people would be very annoyed if 11 of the complement of 17 gardaí were ten miles away in a court which should rightfully be held in their town.
We have had negotiations with the management of the community centre and Cork County Council on the refurbishment needed to bring the centre up to standard. The county council is willing to pay the cost of sound proofing the centre, thus solving the major problem. It appears a room in the centre adjacent to the court can be made available for family law cases and another room can be made available for solicitors, etc.
Apart from Dublin, Ballincollig is the fastest growing town in Ireland. It is expected that, as a result of the development plan, the present population of 14,500 will have increased to approximately 20,000 by the end of the century. This growing community should have a District Court. The location of such a court in the town would act as a deterrent to vandals and others involved in crime. The hearing of cases involving people from Ballincollig in other towns is not a sufficient deterrent to those involved in crime.
We want to bring justice to the people; even bringing the District Justice and court clerk to Ballincollig would do this. Otherwise gardaí will have to be continually transferred to other locations and local people will have to incur unnecessary expense and endure a great deal of hassle. I hope the Minister considers my request favourably.
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Mr. O'Dea) Willie O'Dea
Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Mr. O'Dea): The Deputy will be aware that the provision and maintenance  of courthouses is the responsibility of the local authorities. District Court sitting had been held in the Ballincollig Community Centre for approximately ten years. In June 1993 the honorary secretary of the Ballincollig Community Centre Committee wrote to Cork County Council requesting them, because of difficulties caused by vandalism and the behaviour of some of those attending the court, to find alternative accommodation for the District Court sitting in Ballincollig after 1993.
Since this notice to quit Ballincollig Community Centre was served on Cork County Council exhaustive efforts have been made in the search for a suitable alternative venue. The seven premises looked at in the immediate Ballincollig area were either unsuitable or unavailable. I understand that Cork County Council is currently holding consultations with the owners of a property in Ballincollig with a view to restoring court sitting to the town. I want to assure the Deputy that when suitable premises are found in Ballincollig, sitting of the District Court will return there and we will spare no effort in our endeavours to ensure that this happens as soon as possible.
Dáil Éireann 441 Adjournment Debate. Ballincollig (Cork) District Court Sittings.