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Virginia Court saved but Ballyconnell to go

Story by Tom Kelly

Monday, 25th February, 2013 4:14pm

Virginia Court saved but Ballyconnell to go

Ballyconnell Courthouse is to close.

Virginia District Court is to be kept open, while sittings in Ballyconnell are to transfer to Cavan Town, the Courts Service has confirmed.

The future of services at both district courts were among 40 district court sittings reviewed outside of Dublin by the Courts Services.

In a statement to The Anglo-Celt this afternoon, a spokesperson for the Courts Service said: "Following a meeting of its Building Committee, Virginia courthouse will not have its business transferred, but the business currently in Ballyconnell and Swanlinbar will be transferred in the near future."

As a result, County Cavan will now be left with two district court sittings in Cavan Town and Virginia catering for a population of 73,183.

The Virginia District Court will deal with cases largely from the Bailieborough Garda Division and cover a population of between 25,000 to 30,000, four times a month.

Over the past 20 years, there have been 14 court closures in Cavan, Monaghan, Meath, Leitrim and Longford. Among the courts to close in Cavan were Arva, Bailieboro, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet, Cootehill, Dowra and Kingscourt. In Monaghan, Ballybay and Castleblayney; Leitrim, Mohill, Ballinamore and Manorhamilton; Meath, Oldcastle and Longford, Granard, have also closed over the years.

Bailieboro has also lost a sitting of the Circuit Court as well.

The purpose of the most recent review was to establish a framework within which venues could be considered for closure taking account of a range of criteria such as case load, proximity to an alternative venue, physical condition of the building, availability of cells etc.

District Court Judge Sean MacBride had expressed his opposition to the closure of any sittings in District Number 5 (Cavan and Monaghan). He made a detailed submission in respect of the proposed closures.

He pointed out that Virginia dealt with 2,773 cases in 2010, while Ballyconnell and Clones looked after almost 1,000 each.

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