The future of Manorhamilton District Court and the prospect of moving the sitting elsewhere is currently being assessed by the Irish Courts Service.
All courts around the country were recently reviewed and over 40 district courts outside of Dublin have been identified as venues which should be further considered for closure -subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case. Manorhamilton is one of the courts identified for further assessment, a consultation process will take place shortly. In West Cavan, Ballyconnell District Court is also up for further assessment.
The Irish Courts Service told the Leitrim Observer “No decision has yet been made in relation to the future any of these venues.”
Manorhamilton District Court currently comes under the jurisdiction of the Sligo Court system, but this may change and Manorhamilton could be merged into Carrick-on-Shannon in line with county jurisdictions. These issues will be taken into consideration in the assessment.
‘The Courts Service say that “in common with all other public sector organisations the Courts Service is operating in a very difficult and challenging economic environment - not only in the context of reduced funding but also in the context of reducing resources arising from the moratorium on the recruitment and filling of vacancies as they arise.”
They wish “to ensure that the Service, in the current environment, can continue to maintain the delivery of frontline court services and the maintenance of an appropriate level of service to court users. It is in this context that the Service keeps the number of court venues it maintains under continuous review with no court venue being singled out or exempt from the review process.”
The terms for closure are understood to be based on the case load, the number of court sittings, staff, accessibility, condition of the building, technical facilities and geographical distance between the alternative court venue.
The assessment which will be undertaken will be informed by a consultation process with the Judiciary; Court users groups such as the Gardai, Prison Service, local lawyers groups; staff; and local public representatives. The final decision in relation to the closure of any venue will be a matter for the Board of the Courts Service.
There is no date set for the finalisation of these assessments.