A €250,000 investment in the refurbishment of Clonakilty Courthouse is one of just two projects completed in recent years by the Courts Service of Ireland, both of which are in Cork.
The chief executive of the Courts Service, Brendan Ryan, told the assembled guests at the re-opening of Clonakilty Courthouse last Friday, March 27th, that ‘money has been tight’ since the downturn. The Clonakilty upgrade – alongside Macroom, which was given a similar upgrade in 2011 – were the only refurbishment works carried out since the organisation’s budget was cut by about 30% since 2009.
Mr Ryan said the Courts Service is also having to deal with a 16% reduction in staff numbers but he praised the southern regional manager, Mr Eamonn Kiely, for submitting ‘such good business plans for the area.’
He also paid tribute to Judge James McNulty, who presides over District 18, which includes both Macroom and Cork. He, and many other speakers on the day, jokingly referred to the judge as ‘the project manager’, because he often visited the site as work – designed by Blackwood Associates Architects – was completed by Daytona Builders.
The work included the refurbishment of the main courtroom, the upgrading of the consultation rooms, the provision of a new family law court, a new judge’s room, as well as upgrading the toilet facilities and the provision of an office and storage area.
As the senior legal representative in Clonakilty, solicitor Jim Brooks described the re-opening of the courthouse as ‘a tremendous day for the people of Clonakilty,’ and he regaled retired Judge Brendan Wallace, colleagues, cops and members of the Courts Service with stories about the good old days when there was just lino on the floor, no toilet facilities whatsoever, and three single-bar electric heaters for the entire building.
Judge McNulty thanked everyone involved in the project and just as he was getting to the good bit in a courtroom drama a mobile phone went off at the back of the room and Denis Noonan – a retired senior court clerk who served the Clonakilty area well for so many years – got up from his seat and smiling, but red-faced, switched it off.