By Liam Heylin
The new €35m courthouse in Cork opened yesterday as the Lord Mayor of the city pleaded for more funding for local community projects working to keep people out of courtrooms.
The new courts complex on Anglesea Street was officially opened today by the Chief Justice Frank Clarke, and Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan.
Tony Fitzgerald, Lord Mayor of Cork, was the first speaker at the opening ceremony today for the courthouse and he emphasised the role of crime prevention particularly through garda juvenile liaison schemes and other projects at community level aimed at keeping young people positively active.
“I appeal to all those in power that funding remains in local communities working in partnership with An Garda Síochána to keep as many people out of here and active in their community through sport and community development,” said Mr Fitzgerald.
Mr Flanagan said: “Whether a person comes here to work, to seek vindication, to face justice, or as a jury member to pass judgement, everyone will now enter a courthouse which integrates the old and the new, respecting our built heritage exemplified in the Model School and contrasting this with a modern building sculpted from Irish limestone to provide a modern courthouse for Cork City.
“A courthouse is a place where life-changing decisions can occur. It is a place where complex and sensitive issues that affect people’s lives are dealt with. It can be intimidating and but that is why it is so good to see the enhancements here.”
The new courthouse has six courtrooms, two nonjury and four jury, as well as secure circulation areas for judges, jurors and those in custody.
It also includes a vulnerable witness suite, a victim support room, a legal practitioners’ room, enhanced custody facilities, jury reception room, consultation rooms and other support facilities.
Mr Justice Frank Clarke, said: “This fine refurbishment and new building is a very successful solution to providing additional and improved court facilities in the city.
"The improved facilities and the attractive design of the new building, complementing the historic structure, will help create an atmosphere beneficial to all who have business in the courts in Cork.
“With this project now completed, and with the fine courthouse in Washington St continuing in operation, Cork city now has what are probably the best court facilities in the country.”