Dáil Éireann - Volume 520 - 30 May, 2000

Written Answers. - Court Accommodation.

358. Mr. McGrath asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform the reason for the long delay in refurbishing and providing family law facilities at Mullingar Court House in County Westmeath; and if he will set out the timetable for these works. [15394/00]

Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. O'Donoghue): I am informed that the [347] Courts Service is preparing a five to seven year building programme to provide modern court accommodation throughout the country and that the refurbishment of the courthouse in Mullingar will be part of this programme. Court buildings are selected for refurbishment based on certain criteria including condition of the building, office locations, buildings in daily use, number of court sittings, caseload, etc. At present a number of large refurbishment projects are under way in Sligo, Trim and Cork Circuit Court, together with a number of smaller projects at Buncrana, Carrickmacross and Mallow, with a number of other projects due to commence in the near future.

The Courts Service has informed me that an architect has been appointed by Westmeath County Council, which acts as the Courts Service's agents in this matter, to prepare plans for the refurbishment of Mullingar courthouse. When draft plans have been drawn up all interested parties, i.e. the Judiciary, staff, legal profession, gardaí and other court users will be consulted in relation to the facilities to be provided there.

It is not possible at this stage to provide a precise timescale for the work given the nature of the planning, consultation and tendering processes. However, the Courts Service will continue to progress the project and the Deputy may be assured that I am committed to providing modern courthouse accommodation in Mullingar as quickly as possible.