Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Questions (14)

Charlie McConalogue

Question:

14. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the OPW has carried out a recent assessment of Carndonagh courthouse, Carndonagh, County Donegal; if issues have been identified; his plans to remedy same; the timeframe involved; if the OPW will work with the Courts Service to ensure a temporary venue is made available in Carndonagh and that court sittings continue to be held in Carndonagh; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [47796/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions.

However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and been advised by the Courts Service that immediate health and safety issues were identified by the Office of Public Works following an inspection of Carndonagh Courthouse. Unfortunately, court hearings could not continue at the courthouse in the short term.

The Courts Service is undertaking condition surveys of approximately 65 courthouses nationwide. In view of the circumstances in Carndonagh, priority has been given to this courthouse and I understand that the survey was carried out on the 30th October 2019. However, the Courts Service await the structural report from this review before any decision can be made on works to Carndonagh Courthouse.

I understand the sitting of Carndonagh District Court which sits once per month has been transferred to the nearest Courthouse, Buncrana Courthouse, just under 20 kilometres distance from Carndonagh. Carndonagh District Court will continue to sit in Buncrana Courthouse until the review is complete.