KILMALLOCK court-house has been branded a “white elephant” by justice spokesperson Niall Collins, after it was announced Charleville cases are to be moved from there to Mallow Court.
The courthouse, which was officially opened after a €2.5 million refurbishment in July 2010, currently has five sittings a month.
There are two Kilmallock days, one family law, one Charleville and one civil/county council day on a Tuesday, which has ended up being an overflow day for Charleville. The official transfer of Charleville cases from Kilmallock to Mallow Court took place on June 1.
The statement reads: “All prosecutions which are already in the system through adjournments or scheduled for hearing before June 1 will continue to be heard in Kilmallock on the first Thursday of each month until further notice.”
Solicitors in Kilmallock and Charleville the Leader has spoken to are furious at the move.
“I estimate that 50 per cent of business in Kilmallock was from the North Cork area and the Tuesday and Thursday Charleville sittings will both go as there will simply not be enough court business,” said one solicitor.
While another said: “It is under-utilised with five days a month as it is, but three days is a joke. In terms of utilisation of a building it as an absolute joke.”
The Courts Service failed to answer a query from the Limerick Leader if the Charleville court day will be replaced. Or if Kilmallock Court would be used to ease the pressure in Limerick District Court.
Mr Collins said the move “makes no sense” considering the proximity and ties between Kilmallock and Charleville.
“It is a decision that people find very hard to understand - why are the Government doing this. It is a beautiful building with excellent modern facilities yet it is going to be even more under-used than it already is,” said Mr Collins.
“A number of business people in Kilmallock have been in touch with me. They are concerned with the effect this move will have on them,” he added.
The Courts Service response to the Leader query about Charleville Court reads:
“There has been no district court in Charleville (Rath Luirc) since 2000. At that time the district court area of Rath Luirc was amalgamated into the district court area of Kilmallock. In 2012, the district court area of Kilmallock merged with the district court area of Limerick city although Kilmallock remained as a court venue.
“This left some areas which formed the previous district court area of Rath Luirc in the district court area of Limerick even though they are all in County Cork. The Courts Service board decided that it was opportune at this point to transfer them into one of the district court areas in County Cork i.e. Mallow.”