‘Save our Courthouse’
KERRY’S legal circle and the business community in Tralee have joined forces to fight State plans to move the county’s main courthouse to Ballymullen Barracks on the outskirts of the town.
In spite of overwhelming local opposition, the Courts Service appears determined to press ahead with plans to move Tralee’s courts out of the historic 19th century courthouse on Ashe Street.
The Courts Service – who acknowledge Tralee courthouse requires major refurbishments – recently requested a valuation of Ballymullen Barracks from the Department of Defence.
A spokesman for the Courts Service said that “An assessment recently carried out by the OPW indicates that very little potential exists for developing the existing courthouse site to provide modern court facilities”.
This view is strongly contested by Kerry Law Society members who argue there is ample space in the existing building – including its empty open air rotunda – and nearby to allow for its redevelopment.
At the Courthouse on Tuesday Law Society members met with Tralee Chamber Alliance representatives, Ashe Street traders and other concerned stakeholders to formulate a strategy to prevent the move.
Initially the group will write to the Courts Service to outline their opposition and outline how the existing courthouse can be refurbished. An intensive political lobbying campaign will also be launched.
The group argues that moving the courthouse would devastate Tralee town centre.
Recent remarks by Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan suggest he may agree with their position.
Opening a new €19 million courthouse in Letterkenny on Monday he said it is “important that courts are in the centre of town”.
Law Society members, Tralee Chamber Alliance members and other stakeholders at Tuesday’s meeting over the future of Tralee’s iconic Courthouse on Ashe Street. The group reaffirmed their strong opposition to a proposal to move the court into a new site on the outskirts of Tralee. Solicitors Pa Daly and John Galvin in the underused open air rotunda within the Courthouse complex.