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 the performance of its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided me with the following update.
The Government's revised National Development Plan 2021 -2030 includes a number of Courts Service capital building projects to be completed during the period of the plan including the Hammond Lane Family Law complex and the provision of further new or refurbished courthouses in cities and county towns where facilities remain sub-standard, including in Wicklow Town.
I am informed by the Courts Service that the priority project for the period up to 2025 is the proposed new Family Law complex in Hammond Lane. The timing and delivery of the remaining projects, including Wicklow Town, will be dependent on the availability of funding over the remainder of the NDP.
I am advised that the existing courthouse building, comprising two courtrooms, is in very poor condition and is currently closed on health and safety grounds. All court business is currently being dealt with at Bray.
The Courts Service further advises that a courthouse comprising four courtrooms and related facilities (for example, consultation rooms, custody facilities, facilities for juries and vulnerable witnesses, legal practitioner’s suites, etc.) is required to meet current and future demand in Wicklow. This will require a building significantly larger than the existing two courtroom building.
The Courts Service proposes to refurbish and extend the courthouse to provide the required accommodation and has acquired a number of adjoining properties that were in council ownership so as to have available a larger site capable of accommodating a courthouse building on the scale envisaged.