LIMERICK’S new courts complex on Mulgrave Street should be open by mid-2017, the chief executive of the Courts Service Brendan Ryan has said.
He was responding to questions from Fine Gael’s Deputy Kieran O’Donnell at the Public Accounts Committee.
“I hope that by next October we will have signed a contract with the PPP company. It will be on the old Costello’s Yard site,” Mr Ryan said of the site next to Limerick Prison that has been identified for a new courthouse.
“There are a couple of old buildings that have to be preserved but they will not be part of the fabric of the court building which will be 7,600 square metres. It will include six courtrooms, custody facilities, court offices and associated facilities,” Mr Ryan added.
Contracts are expected to be signed by October 2015 “with building work to start straightaway”, Mr Ryan said.
“These are normally about 16 to 18-month contracts. The only good thing about them is that, because they are PPP projects, they tend to be completed quicker. It will be ready around mid-year 2017. It is a significant building, as the vice chairman (Deputy O’Donnell) knows but being a brownfield site makes it easier.”
The existing Circuit Court building would be retained for civil and family law matters, Mr Ryan added.
“It is a fine courthouse but it is not suitable for current purposes,” he said.
A number of local politicians have been stressing for the need to move the criminal business of the courts in Limerick away from City Hall as a matter of urgency.
Deputy O’Donnell pressed Mr Ryan on what the plans were for the current District Court building which is annexed to City Hall.
But Mr Ryan said that would be a matter for discussion between the Courts Service and Limerick City and County Council. He also gave no indication on what the project might cost, given it was at the procurement stage.