Work to begin on new courthouse early next year

By Esther Hayden

Published 22/12/2015 | 00:00

An artist's impression of what the new courthouse will look like.
An artist's impression of what the new courthouse will look like.

Contracts for Wexford's new state of the art courthouse in Wygram were signed last Friday.

The courthouse which will be built on the site of the old municipal buildings which was originally Tate School is one of four new courthouses to be built nationwide and is expected to cost in the region of €10 million to build. It is part of a €135 million courthouse bundle which will be carried out by contractors BAM.

In 2010, the OPW was granted planning permission for the court complex, which will extend to almost 5,000 square metres. Built as Tate School in 1867, the Municipal Buildings in Wygram became the headquarters of Wexford Town Council from the 1950s to 2007, when the 1.5-acre property was sold to the Courts Service for €3 million as a site for Wexford's courthouse.

The residents in the area had been against the location in the mainly residential area of Wygram saying it would change the whole dynamic of the area. They said the courthouse - which will be the largest courthouse in the country outside of Dublin - is totally out of scale for the locality and sent a petition to both the Office of Public Works and the Courts Service.

The main entrance to the building will be opposite St. Ibar's Villas while there will also be a entrance gate at Davitt Road North to cater for prison vans entering and exiting the grounds. Cars will be directed to a car park with 43 parking spaces and a further 11 around other parts of the site.

Despite the objections the contracts were signed on Friday as part of a Courts Bundle Public Private Partnership project which will see the building of four new courthouses and the redevelopment of a further seven regional courthouses.

It is anticipated that around 700 new jobs are to be created during the period of construction. Four new courthouses are to be built in Drogheda, Letterkenny, Limerick and Wexford. Substantial refurbishment and extension works are planned for existing courthouses in Cork, Mullingar and Waterford.

It is expected that work on the courthouses including the one in Wexford will start early in New Year with a view to completing the new and refurbished buildings within the next 24 months by December 2017. Under the PPP model, the courthouses will be designed, built, financed and maintained for 25 years by BAM PPP PGGM.

Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said: 'This Government has proved itself to be one of the most reforming in the history of the State when it comes to the Courts and the legal system. It is only right that as we update our laws and legal systems that we also update our Courts infrastructure.

'This PPP project for the construction and redevelopment of regional courthouses represents a substantial investment in the modernisation of our Court facilities with costs estimated to be €135 million which will provide an important boost to the local economies. It is expected that up to 700 new jobs will be created during construction.'

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