Courts Service to build new courthouse in Roscommon?

The Courts Service is considering building a new courthouse in Roscommon town because it would be much cheaper than refurbishing the existing premises, newly-released documents have shown.

  There would also be “significant challenges” for accessibility into Roscommon Courthouse, a landmark building in a poor state of repair.

  It is owned by Roscommon County Council and the Courts Service, but since the Council moved to their new civic headquarters last December, its section became surplus to requirements and its annex was demolished.

  The Courts Service is in negotiations with the Council about buying their portion of the courthouse. The Valuation Office are independently valuing the space that would be transferred to it for potential redevelopment.

  However, the Courts Service has made it clear to the Council that it is also strongly considering a new-build because there are various disadvantages to redevelopment of the 184-year-old premises.

  This message was relayed to Eugene Cummins, the Chief Executive of the council, by Paul Burns, the assistant secretary of the Courts Service’s head of infrastructure services directorate, in a letter on March 7th.

  He noted that the possible refurbishment of the existing courthouse, with additional space acquired from the Council, was only one of the options being considered for the improvement of courthouse facilities.

  “The main alternative is the provision of a new courthouse building on a new site,” Mr. Burns wrote, in a letter obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

  He said the existing building was architecturally and historically significant and was well located in the town, but that its refurbishment would be “significantly more expensive that a new-build”.

  “The layout of the building itself and the likely conservation requirements will pose significant challenges for accessibility into and within the building,” Mr. Burns added.

  “The cost of acquiring the Council’s space within the courthouse is a significant factor to be considered in evaluating the options.”

  The Courts Service declined to comment  this week.