A site has been purchased in Portlaoise for a new courthouse for Laois according to Fianna Fáil TD Seán Fleming.
Dep Fleming says he has received assurances from the Courts Service that they have signed a contract to purchase a two-acre site on the new ring road in Portlaoise for a new courthouse.
Chairing the Dáil Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Dep Fleming said he questioned officials from the Service about their plans for new courthouse.
“This is great news for Portlaoise. The Courts Service also told me that the Office of Public Works (OPW) have already prepared a detailed design for the new courthouse and this could go in for planning permission in the immediate future if funding is made available.
“I am therefore calling on the Minister for Justice (Charlie Flanagan) to move on this important project and ensure funding is provided immediately so that it can proceed," he said.
The Fianna Fáil TD hoped that this could pave the way for the use of the existing courthouse for the community.
“I am also pleased that the Courts Service will be leaving the old courthouse, which is a beautiful building, in situ on the Main Street, and it will be handed back to Laois County Council for the benefit of the people of Laois.
“It’s a lovely building and it will be very beneficial to bring it back into public use so all the people of Laois can enjoy it,” concluded Dep Fleming.
Calls have been made for some time for a new building for the courthouse which was built in 1782 and was linked to a jail. The courthouse was refurbished in the late 1990s but demands on the facility have increased since partly due to the closure of other courts in the district.
The jail now houses the Dunamaise Arts Centre.