Courts Service responds to outcry over future of court sittings
The Courts Service has said that it will seek out alternative venues in Roscommon town in which to house court sittings as it prepares to close Roscommon Courthouse to allow for major refurbishment work.
It has also indicated that the closure, which was to be effective from the beginning of January, will now be put back to the end of March, although it “cannot be guaranteed that there will be no problems between now and then”. The Courts Service acquired the building from Roscommon County Council in 2018.
Last week the Roscommon People reported that the Courts Service was planning to close Roscommon Courthouse in January, with a view to major refurbishment works taking place. The Courts Service had been planning to switch Roscommon court sittings to other towns, with Carrick-on-Shannon earmarked for Circuit Court sittings and Castlerea to host the District Court.
The plans were strongly criticised by the Roscommon Bar Association, which stated that moving local sittings to neighbouring towns was “utterly unacceptable”. On foot of the Roscommon People story, there was an immediate robust response from local politicians, who have insisted that court sittings must be accommodated in Roscommon Town over the duration of the refurbishment project.
The Courts Service met with local solicitors, Gardai and the prison service last Thursday afternoon.
In a statement on behalf of the Roscommon Bar Association, its Secretary, Sean Mahon said: “The immediate concern of the solicitors was that the court would not close in January and that the Courts Service had not sourced an alternative venue in Roscommon Town. The Courts Service had decided that the District Court was going to move to Castlerea and the Circuit Court to Carrick-on-Shannon. Thankfully the Courts Service responded to the concerns raised and confirmed that they are now seeking alternative premises in Roscommon to accommodate both the District Court and the Circuit Court.
“The Court Service have agreed to continue to liaise with the solicitors and a further meeting is in the process of being organised.
“The solicitors are adamant that there are an abundance of properties in Roscommon that will accommodate both the District Court and the Circuit Court and that there can be no suggestion of either court moving to another town.
“The solicitors shall continue to consult with the Court Service and assist them in finding an alternative venue in Roscommon Town”.