Fresh progress on plan to build a new Portlaoise courthouse

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Email:

lynda.kiernan@leinsterexpress.ie

Laois County Council offers to partner with Department of Justice on Portlaoise courthouse

Portlaoise Courthouse on Main Street.

There is a new development on a replacement site for the problematic Portlaoise Courthouse.

An agreement is now understood to have been reached between Laois County Council and the Court Service, as to how a site will be bought for the courthouse.

The council has agreed to try and buy the site using their own funds, in efforts to get the project moving. That money will then be reimbursed by the Court Service. 

The site is understood to be on land that will open onto the new extension of the Southern Circular Link road, behind the Aldi supermarket. 

No timeline is yet given but efforts have been underway by the local authority for some time, to relocate the courthouse which is in a historic building on Main Street. 

Problems with that location include anti-social behaviour spilling onto Main Street,and gatherings of intimidating crowds outside which is deterring shoppers and thus hurting local shops.

A lack of parking means that Garda and prison vehicles must park on the street, often causing a backlog of traffic when larger vehicles attempt to get down the street. 

Last August, the Minister of State for the OPW Kevin 'Boxer' Moran came to Portlaoise to discuss the issue with Laois County Council management. 

"We tried to persuade and put pressure on to attend to the problem in Portlaoise, but the site is entirely a matter for the Court Service. We said it was absolutely necessary for the proper functioning of Main Street, and we followed it up with a letter as he requested," the CEO John Mulholland said at that time.

The new courthouse will be 5,000sq metres in size, Mr Mulholland has previously confirmed. 

New Dublin Midlands hospital boss expected to scrap Portlaoise downgrade plan