Minister enjoys distinguished judical notice as restored Monaghan Courthouse is inaugurated

25 February 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

Minister for Justice and Law Reform Brendan Smith finds himself under the distinguished judicial notice of the Chief Justice of Ireland the Hon. Mr Justice John L Murray (far right), District Court Judge Sean MacBride (second left) and Judge of the Circuit Court, His Honour Judge John O’Hagan (second right), as he cuts the ribbon marking the official opening of the newly refurbished Courthouse building in Church Square in Monaghan Town on Monday. Monaghan Town Council Cathaoirleach Robbie Gallagher looks on (Photo: Rory Geary/The Northern Standard).
The €8.5 million project has provided three new modern courtrooms in the 19th century structure as well as improved facilities for staff and users of the court services.
Both the main courtrooms have facilities for the holding of jury trials, while the third court will be used to hear Family Law proceedings. It was stated during Monday’s ceremony that it will be possible in the future to hold sittings of both the High Court and the Central Criminal Court in the Monaghan venue should the need arise.
Detailing the work which had been carried out to the Church Square building during his address on Monday, Chief Justice Murray said that, in the past, major court buildings were designed more to intimidate than accommodate.
“In refurbishing such historic buildings, we in the Courts Service are very conscious that they are made to openly invite entry and allow freedom of movement within.
“The installation of a new lift and careful design of public spaces ensures this building is universally accessible for public and staff.
“The courtrooms have also been redesigned to provide universal access for persons with mobility difficulties.
“New signage has been designed with accessibility in mind and induction loops have been installed in the courtrooms for use by users of hearing aids.”
The 2,037-metre building was built using locally accessed stone in 1829, reputedly to the design of the noted Cork-born architect Joseph Welland. An arson attack on the building in 1981 destroyed many of the original interior architectural features and the new design has attempted to restore the interior character of the building, which was perceived by many to have been lost when the 1985 restoration was carried out.
OPW Architects led the design of the new works, with the main contractor being John Sisk & Son. Works took place between June 2009 and August 2010, with the contract being completed a month ahead of schedule.

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