Courthouse in Tralee remains inaccessible to wheelchair users

The Courts Service has said it will accommodate people with mobility issues in Tralee, Co Kerry, if given enough notice.

The county’s main courthouse, built in 1835 on Ashe St, is inaccessible to wheelchair users. Other facilities are also under strain, the circuit court heard this week.

This week a quadriplegic Tralee man with cerebral palsy — who through his mother successfully sued Enable Ireland after a wheelchair accident while under the disability body’s supervision in 2010 — was forced to remain in a side street.

Although revamped internally in the 1980s, externally the courthouse has remained as it was built, without wheelchair ramps to facilitate people climbing the high steps.

And while many of the country’s courthouses were done up during the boom, plans for a new courthouse on a greenfield site in Tralee met strong opposition.

The court offices had become severely dilapidated and the Court Service now rents office space in a building some distance away.

Increased demand in family law is putting a strain on the consultation room facilities.

With only two courtrooms and one jury room it is not possible to run simultaneous trials, a circuit court judge ruled Monday, after canvassing the idea during the call over list for the next circuit court sittings in Tralee. Judge Carroll Moran decided against attempting to run two trials simultaneously saying this was “simply not feasible” in Tralee.

A spokesman for the Courts Service yesterday said courthouse such as that in Tralee were built to intimidate not accommodate. Tralee was one of the few 19th-century courthouses which did not benefit from a makeover in recent years which would have allowed ramps and other facilities.

“However if someone lets us know they have mobility issues, we can have cases transferred,” said the spokesman.


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