Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, officially opens refurbished and extended Waterford Courthouse

 

€26m project includes key measures to support victims and vulnerable witnesses

Courthouse is part of largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service

 

9 April 2018

 

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today officially opened the refurbished and extended Waterford Courthouse. The €26m project builds on the original courthouse which dates back to 1849 when it was designed by J B Keane.

 

Speaking at the opening, which was also attended by the Chief Justice Mr Frank Clarke, the Minister said: “There’s no question but that the new extension to Waterford Courthouse is going to make a huge difference to those who use it. The new block is 6000 square metres, compared to the old courthouse’s just over 1000 and there will now be 6 courtrooms, compared to the previous 2.  So whether a person comes here to work; to seek vindication; to face justice; or as a jury member to pass judgement, everyone will now enter a courthouse which integrates the old and the new, which is open and approachable, and which inspires confidence without being intimidating.”

 

In 2016 alone, over 7,500 matters were dealt with by the District Court in Waterford across 209 sitting days. Another 634 matters, over 150 days, were disposed of by the Circuit Court sitting in Waterford and Dungarvan. Particular care has been taken in the project to provide appropriate facilities for all those who must attend the Court including victims and vulnerable witnesses.

 

The Minister added: “A lot of cases come before the Court each year, cases which represent, for a lot of the people involved, stress. A courthouse is a place where life-changing decisions can occur. It’s a place where complex and sensitive issues that affect people’s lives are dealt with. It can be intimidating and that’s why it is so good to see the additions here. The new Courthouse has a vulnerable witness suite, a victim support room, a legal practitioners’ room, as well as consultation rooms, a jury reception room, enhanced custody facilities and other support facilities.”

 

Waterford is the fifth new or refurbished courthouse to be opened by the Minister in recent months following Drogheda, Letterkenny, Wexford and Limerick.

 

The Minister said: “Waterford Courthouse is part of a €2.25bn infrastructure stimulus programme which included the construction or extension/refurbishment of seven courthouses under the ‘Courts PPP Bundle’. In terms of scale, the Courts PPP Bundle is the largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service, delivering a total of 31 courtrooms and 36,000 m2 of accommodation nationwide. I hope later this year, Mr Justice Clarke and I will be presiding over the completion of another two substantial refurbishments and extensions in Cork and Mullingar”

 

Ends

 

Note for editors:

 

Waterford Courthouse

The new courthouse has a floor area of over 6,400m2. The capital cost was c.€25.9m. Facilities include six courtrooms and a new public office. User facilities include a vulnerable witness suite, victim support room, legal practitioners room, enhanced custody facilities, jury reception room, consultation rooms and other support facilities. The courtrooms are all accessible off a new central atrium – echoing the round hall in the Four Courts. All circulation routes within the building – public, staff/judiciary, custody and jury are fully accessible. It is the fifth building in the Courts PPP Bundle to become operational.

 

During construction, the remains of an early medieval graveyard were discovered on the former fire station site to the rear of the courthouse building. It appears to be associated with St. Catherine’s Abbey – a 12th century settlement which is believed to have been located on what is now Catherine Street. An extensive archaeological excavation of this area – which uncovered a number of graves - was undertaken during construction.

 

Courts PPP bundle

In July 2012, the Government announced a €2.25bn infrastructure stimulus programme which included the construction or extension/refurbishment of seven courthouses (called the ‘Courts PPP Bundle’). In terms of scale, the Courts PPP Bundle is the largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service, delivering a total of 31 courtrooms and 36,000 m2 of accommodation nationwide.

 

 

Location

 

Courthouse Buildings

Existing Area

New Area

Total Area2

Drogheda,  Co. Louth

A new courthouse consisting of two courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a landmark town centre site adjacent to the River Boyne.

0m2

1,354m2

1,354m2

Letterkenny,

Co. Donegal

A new courthouse to accommodate four courtrooms and associated facilities to be constructed on a town centre site close to the

existing courthouse.

0m2

5,027m2

5,027m2

Limerick City

A new criminal courthouse to be built on a

site adjacent to Limerick Prison, to include six courtrooms, custody facilities, court

offices and associated facilities.

259m2

7,350m2

7,609m2

Wexford

Town

The refurbishment and extension of an existing landmark building to provide a new courthouse for Wexford Town consisting of four courtrooms, Custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

430m2

4,272m2

4,702m2

Cork City

The refurbishment and extension of the existing landmark courthouse building at Anglesea Street to accommodate six courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices, the regional office and associated facilities.

1,556m2

6,934m2

8,490m2

Mullingar, Co.

Westmeath

The refurbishment and extension of the existing historic courthouse in Mullingar to accommodate three courtrooms, improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,798m2

1,459m2

3,257m2

Waterford

City

The refurbishment and extension of the

existing historic courthouse in Waterford to accommodate six courtrooms improved custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities.

1,133m2

5,259m2

6,392m2

Totals

5,176m2

31,655m2

36,831m2