Future of Ballinamore courthouse must be secured
The future of the historic listed Ballinamore Courthouse must be secured to allow the building to be utilised by the community say a number of local councillors.
Speaking to the Leitrim Observer last week following a meeting with the company hired to carry out a feasibility study on the building, councillors Gordon Hughes and Caillian Ellis said that the building was an integral part of the history of the town and must be preserved.
At the meeting it was revealed that it will take around €160,000 to carry out immediate weatherproofing works on the building which was closed due to health and safety concerns in mid 2009. It will take a further €290,000 to complete a full renovation of the building.
Since its closure by the Courts Service, no work has been carried out on the building and the Courts Services has admitted the courthouse has not been prioritised for essential works as it is no longer in use.
There had been some discussion last year about the possibility of returning the ownership of the building back to the Local Authority, however, Leitrim County Council simply does not have the funds to carry out essential repairs and the building continues to deteriorate at a rapid rate. There has been repeated incidents of vandalism at the rear of the property as well which have further compromised the building.
Cllr Hughes has argued that, as a listed building, the Department of Justice and Minister Alan Shatter have a legal obligation to protect this historic structure. There are calls for the Department of Justice to carry out immediate repair works on the heritage listed courthouse in Ballinamore.
He said that any owner of a listed property such as this would be called on to ensure the continued integrity of the building and the Department of Justice should not be exempt from their responsibilities.
He and Cllr Ellis stressed the massive potential of utilising the site for a community based project such as a John McGahern School or Theatre.
“It is very centrally located and if we miss this opportunity to carry out the work on this building we will lose it,” warned Cllr Ellis.
Search for a job
Weather for Carrick-on-Shannon, Ireland
Tuesday 18 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 12 mph
Wind direction: West