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Galway Courthouse could move to Dyke Road


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Galway Courthouse could move to Dyke Road Galway Courthouse could move to Dyke Road

A new, larger courthouse for Galway could be incorporated into plans for a mixed-use development at the Dyke Road.

The Land Development Agency (LDA) is involved in preliminary surveys at the landbank owned by Galway City Council that is earmarked for up to 200 social and affordable homes, plus civic and commercial spaces.

Discussions between the Courts Service of Ireland and Galway City Council have taken place about the possibility of building a new courthouse at the Dyke Road car park site, as part of the redevelopment plans.

It has been acknowledged for many years that the existing courthouse building is not big enough, and no longer adequate for a court that has become so busy.

The Courts Service has been actively trying to find a suitable site that would be capable of housing a new courthouse with cells. It has approached the Council in recent about the possibility of including court facilities into the Dyke Road development to be undertaken by LDA.

Interim Chief Executive of the Council, Patricia Philbin said the “discussions and assessments are at the preliminary stage”.

A period of public engagement and consultation will take place before the proposals are finalised, she said, when the Court Service and others can have input on the plans.

Councillor John Connolly (FF) told Galway City Tribune that if the Court Service advances plans for a new courthouse at Dyke Road, then the existing courthouse should be retained as a civic space.

“I know the deliberations with the Courts Service are at preliminary stages and one can’t take the outcome for granted but I would hope that should the discussions progress to an outcome where the Courts Service would be re-housed in a new building at the Dyke Road, that the current courthouse would be secured for future civic purposes, be that artistic, political or other,” said Cllr Connolly.

Meanwhile, City Hall has confirmed that the demolition of the Black Box Theatre at Dyke Road remains its medium and long-term objective as part of the LDA’s proposals for the overall site.

At a City Council meeting, Damien Reddington, Climate Action Co-Ordinator, indicated that the local authority planned to retrofit the Black Box. This planned investment cast doubt about the plans to demolish the building.

But he clarified to Cllr Connolly this week that the retrofit was a short-term solution that will pay for itself within two years, and the long-term plans for Black Box are not affected.

Mr Reddington told Cllr Connolly the Black Box was in the top ten of Council buildings that use the most energy. This was due to inefficient heaters, inefficient lights, and gaps at the external doors.

The Council planned to invest €58,000 to upgrade lighting to energy efficient LED and replace four external doors.

“The energy savings associated with the works would be approximately 23,000kWh and reduce the lighting consumption by 74% with a payback period of just 2.1 years. This short payback for the minor upgrades makes this a viable project which will increase efficiencies within the building and reduce running and maintenance costs,” Mr Reddington said.

Cllr Connolly had sought clarity on the future of the Black Box, after it was flagged last week that its energy efficiency would be upgraded.

Mr Reddington has confirmed that the minor upgrade does not impact the long-term plan, which will be brought before city councillors for approval.

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