Thursday, 28 January 2021

Questions (210)

John Brady

Question:

210. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Justice the engagement that has taken place between the local authority and her Department in relation to transferring the old Bray Courthouse, Boghall Road, Bray, County Wicklow to Wicklow County Council for public and community use; the estimated timeframe for this transfer of ownership to be completed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [4793/21]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

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 its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made regarding the former courthouse at Boghall Road, Bray and the Courts Service has provided the following update on this matter.

The position in relation to this courthouse remains unchanged from the response I provided to the Deputy on 10 December 2020. The former courthouse has been vacant since 2006 when court sittings and services were relocated to alternative accommodation in the town centre. While the National Development Plan provides for the construction of county town type court facilities at various locations including Bray, the Boghall Road site is considered unsuitable in terms of both size and location. I understand that the Courts Service did examine the possibility of using the building to augment existing court facilities in Bray; however, this was not considered feasible. The Courts Service has no plans for this building at present and it is considered to be surplus to requirements. In these circumstances, I am informed that the Courts Service, in the first instance, offers the property to the relevant local authority or the OPW for alternative public use.

I am advised that the Courts Service would be willing to explore transferring ownership of the building to Wicklow County Council so that it can be made available for alternative public/community use. The Courts Service have further advised that, to date, no engagement has been undertaken by either party in relation to this matter.

In relation to transferring the old Bray Courthouse, Boghall, the next step is for the local authority and the Court Service to engage directly with each other.

Within the County of Wicklow, the current priority is the refurbishment and extension of Wicklow Courthouse in Wicklow Town. This building has been closed since 2010 for health and safety reasons due to its condition. The Courts Service's long term requirements in Bray will be assessed after the Wicklow Town project has commenced. While there is a long term need for additional court capacity in Bray, the current leased premises which contains the current courthouse is a modern building that was fitted out specifically for court business.