Deputy John Brady asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the status of the annual costs incurred for maintaining the unused courthouse in Wicklow town, including the heating, electricity and security costs, every year since its closure; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16943/17]
107. Deputy John Brady asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will reopen the courthouse in Wicklow town and move Wicklow District Court back to Wicklow town; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [16944/17]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 106 and 107 together.
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 because of the general unsuitability of the facilities in Wicklow Courthouse, sittings of the Circuit Court in Wicklow town were transferred to Bray Courthouse in late 2006/early 2007. Subsequently, following receipt of a health and safety report from the Office Public Works in 2010, it was decided that Wicklow Courthouse no longer offered a safe environment for court users or the general public and so all sittings of the courts, including the District Court, transferred to Bray Courthouse from September 2010.
The Courts Service has also informed me that a number of years ago they acquired a site adjacent to Wicklow town courthouse with the objective of refurbishing and extending the existing building. However, the Courts Service has advised that there are no immediate plans to refurbish Wicklow town courthouse.
The Courts Service is completing its current courthouse refurbishment/building programme and I am advised that Wicklow Courthouse will be considered in the context of any forthcoming refurbishment programme, subject to available resources.
In regard to the annual costs incurred, the Courts Service has informed me that the following are the light, heat and fuel costs for 2015 and 2016 in respect of Wicklow Courthouse:
|Year||Light, Heat and Fuel Costs|
The Courts Service has advised that the annual figures from 2010 to 2014 are not immediately available and to provide such costs would involve significant effort involving a manual examination of 4 years of individual invoices to determine the costs based on metre readings specifically for the courthouse.
In relation to security costs, such costs are only available for the years 2012 to 2014 and are as follows:
No specific invoices for security charges for Wicklow Court house were received for 2015 or 2016.