Courts Service ‘have no money’ to buy Courthouse

The Courts Service are in discussions with Roscommon County Council about buying all of the Courthouse, Roscommon town, but the local authority said that they couldn’t afford to.

  The Council’s new Civic Headquarters, which cost €15 million, has now been completed and all departments are due to be fully operational from Monday, December 7.

  The Council has been leasing five buildings, at a cost of €314,000 per annum, for various departments and for storage space, but that will no longer be necessary.

  They will also move from the Courthouse – one of the county’s landmark buildings, built in 1832 – which they partly own. The rest is owned by the Courts Service, and the Council want them to purchase their section.

  A discussion on the subject took place at a meeting of the local authority’s management team on October 9, attended by Chief Executive Eugene Cummins, Head of Finance Martin Lydon and the Directors of Services.

  The minutes of the meeting, released under the Freedom of Information Act, noted: “It was hoped that Courts Services might buy the Courthouse. However, it does not seem feasible at the moment as they have no money.”

  It was agreed to “pursue the issue of the sale of the Courthouse with (the) Courts Service”.

  The Courts Service confirmed that such discussions were ongoing but said that, if a sale did not materialise, a new courthouse would be built.

  The spokesperson said: “The Courts Service occupies part of Roscommon Courthouse, the rest of it being occupied to date by the county council.

  “The courts accommodation in the building is not of the standard we would wish and it is proposed to improve court facilities in Roscommon town as funds become available.

  “If the local authority space in the courthouse building can be acquired at a reasonable cost, it would be possible to redevelop the existing courthouse to provide improved facilities.

  “The Courts Service is in discussions with Roscommon County Council about
this. Alternatively a new courthouse on a new site would have to be provided.”

  At present, court sittings are held in the Courthouse, along with numerous council offices, while council meetings are held in the council chamber. Roscommon Court Office, meanwhile, is located on the Golf Links Road, just outside the town.

  At last month’s meeting of the management team, a discussion also took place about what the Motor Tax Office building on Abbey Street, Roscommon town, would be used for.

  This remains unclear: the minutes noted that the building was “not very accessible”.