Senior NI Court Service officials told a packed courtroom at Wednesday’s meeting that no decision has been made about closing Limavady Courthouse.
Jacqui Durkin, head of business operations, told the ‘Journal’ after the meeting: “We appreciate the strength of feeling there is in relation to this issue but, like any other public agency, we need to identify efficiencies and as part of that we are consulting on proposals about closing Limavady and four other hearing centres and that’s why we are out to listen to them and not just relying on written feedback.”
Regarding the £308,000 expenditure needed for refurbishment and redecoration, she said: “There are no immediate health and safety issues It’s what would need to be done i.n terms of preventative maintenance. We are also very mindful that transport issues are an important issue and we would be looking at other sites and if there was an incident in Bishop Street we would be making other arrangements for court business that would minimize disruption for court users. We would look to Omagh and Coleraine, and all sites.”
Asked why Limavdy Courthouse couldn’t be kept open, she replied: “We simply don’t have the budget and what it means, if the proposal is rejected, we will need to find those savings somewhere else in our budget and we have posed that question in our consultation.
“The decision is the minister’s - David Ford will make it.”
Peter Luney, Head of Court Operations, said it was important they heard the views of everyone and how closure would impact on them”.
“It’s not the case the decision has been made and, yes, we have looked at expenditure across the agency to see where we can deliver savings. We have looked at all aspects and this is one of a range and it’s important we hear the views.
“It’s clear from what we heard today that there’s an economic impact and we need to gauge how any closure would impact on local community and commerce.
“We said all along it’s not one size fits all.
“We have to look at each individual courthouse on its own merits but, I can say it will be assessed on each individual site.”