9 April 2018
New courthouse opens in Waterford
Waterford courthouse makes an impressive addition to the city following the completion of its €26 million refurbishment and extension.
Chief Justice Mr. Justice Frank Clarke joined Minister for Justice & Equality Charles Flanagan at the official opening event on 9th April.
“The site and the existing historic buildings presented challenges to the architects and builders, but this fine new building is a very successful solution to providing much needed additional court facilities in the city”, he said. “It is a positive addition to the civic architecture in the historic heart of Waterford city. The improved space and light within the building, including a new round hall in the centre, will help create an atmosphere beneficial to all who have business in the courts in Waterford”.
The newly refurbished courthouse contains some 6,000 sq m of accommodation, increased from 1,100 sq m. There are now six double height courtrooms, and ancillary accommodation for judges and staff, including extensive office facilities. There are consultation rooms for practitioners and clients and a suite to provide a quiet, private and secure area for victims, families and vulnerable witnesses.
There are spacious public lobby and waiting areas and spaces for the media to work – both in court and in a dedicated media room. Facilities for persons in custody include a secure entrance for prisoners reducing the public access to them.
Courts Service Chief Executive Brendan Ryan highlighted some of the benefits of the new design.
“In the past major court buildings were designed more to intimidate than to accommodate. In our new buildings we are very conscious of the need to invite entry and allow freedom of movement within and around the building. The careful design of the public spaces in this newly built courthouse ensures that this building is universally accessible for public and staff. The courtrooms have also been designed to provide universal access for persons with mobility difficulties. New signage has also been designed with accessibility in mind, and induction loops have been installed in the courtrooms for use by users of hearing aids”.
The courthouse will routinely accommodate hearings of the District Court and Circuit Court, the High Court on Circuit, and may also be used by the Central Criminal Court.