Speaking in the Seanad on plans for the redevelopment of the court house in Waterford, Sinn Fein Senator David Cullinane said:
“I welcome the renovations they are long over-due.
“But I am concerned they might lead to the loss of court services in Waterford.
“This would be a disaster for the city and a clear diminution of its status as a regional Gateway under the National Spatial strategy.
“We cannot allow this to happen.
“It is estimated the period of construction will take between two and two and a half years.
“This means alternative accommodation must be found.
“At the moment only one replacement court room is being sought by the OPW. If this is the case then the city will lose both its Circuit and High Courts, as the District Court already sits five days a week.
“The courts and the people who attend them all bring much needed revenue into the city.
“The loss of the Courts would be a major blow, economically and in terms of prestige.
“Surly if you need to rent a space and all the
additional rooms etc. required for the District Court to sit then it’s as easy, and I would argue more cost effective, to rent an entire building.
“This would mean the service of all three Courts could remain in Waterford and there would be no loss of revenue to the city.
“I am asking the Minister and the OPW to do the right thing when it comes to this issue.
“The city needs a full court service and the people of Waterford are entitled to expect that in this instance, common sense will prevail.”