53. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her views on a matter (details supplied) regarding funding; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [38065/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will be aware, 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 exercising its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that internal upgrading works were carried out to Killarney Courthouse to improve the condition of the building in 2009. The Courts Service is currently in discussions about improving the bathroom facilities in the building for court users.
I am further informed that Killorglin Courthouse is in poor condition and the Courts Service is considering how best to provide services to court users in the area. The Courts Service will be consulting with all court users in this regard in the near future.
The Courts Service has also informed me that the current courthouse in Tralee comprises two courtrooms and lacks the facilities necessary to deal with the range of business and needs that present in a contemporary court environment. The Courts Service envisages a courthouse comprising four courtrooms and related facilities as being required to meet future demand in Tralee and this will require a building significantly larger than the current courthouse. The scope for refurbishing and developing the existing courthouse on Ashe Street to provide the range of services expected in a modern courthouse is extremely limited due to the nature of the building and space constraints.
The Courts Service explored the possibility of acquiring adjoining buildings on Ashe Street a number of years ago to provide a larger site but satisfactory terms could not be agreed. In order to advance matters, the Courts Service decided it had to consider other sites including, if necessary, sites outside the town centre. However, no decision as to the future of Tralee Courthouse has been made and I am informed that the views of all court users and interested parties will be considered as part of the decision making process.