Written answers

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Department of Justice and Equality

Court Accommodation Refurbishment

Photo of Gabrielle McFaddenGabrielle McFadden (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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116. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the plans that have been put in place to locate a new venue for court sittings once the refurbishment of the courthouse in Mullingar, County Westmeath gets under way. [42414/14]

Photo of Gabrielle McFaddenGabrielle McFadden (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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117. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the timeframe that has been put in place to commence and complete the refurbishment works on the courthouse in Mullingar, County Westmeath. [42415/14]

Photo of Gabrielle McFaddenGabrielle McFadden (Longford-Westmeath, Fine Gael)
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118. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if funding has been ring-fenced for the planned refurbishment works at the courthouse in Mullingar, County Westmeath. [42416/14]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Minister, Department of Justice and Equality; Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 116 to 118, inclusive, together.

As the Deputy is 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 they are now at an advanced stage in planning the proposed refurbishment of Mullingar Courthouse which is part of the Government's infrastructure stimulus package.

The proposed refurbishment of Mullingar Courthouse is one of seven projects included in a Courts Bundle which is to be delivered by way of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The Courts Bundle is currently in a procurement process which is being managed by the National Development Finance Agency. The funding of these projects will be by way of a unitary charge payment to the successful PPP company which is a monthly payment over the life of the project to cover the design, construction, financing and service provision and will commence on completion of the project, which is expected to be in 2017. These payments will be provided for in the Courts Service multi-annual capital provisions.

It is expected that the contract for the Courts PPP Bundle will be signed in the final quarter of 2015 and that construction will commence soon afterwards with the work to be completed during 2017.

The Courts Service is currently looking at possible alternative locations for court sittings in Mullingar once construction work commences on the courthouse. One possible location being considered is the use of accommodation within the Columb Barracks site in Mullingar and the Courts Service is in discussions with the Office of Public Works and the Department of Defence on this matter. The Courts Service has a limited budget for any works that might be necessary to make an alternative venue suitable for court use and is looking to achieve a solution which is effective and economic.

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