Courts could return to Navan

Paul Murphy

A new courthouse could be on the cards for Navan after complaints about severe congestion on certain days at sittings of the district court at Trim Courthouse.

The Courts Service said that later this year it will look at the case for providing a courthouse in the county capital with the expected growth in population in the town making a compelling case for a new building to house the court.
District court criminal sittings were moved some time ago because of serious accommodation problems in the courthouse in Navan, based off Kennedy Road. The courtroom and public waiting room often became severely congested as the system tried to cope with handling up to 11,000 cases a year. There was also an inadequate holding cell for prisoners at that location.
However, when a large number of cases were transferred to Trim (which deals with criminal lists on Tuesdays and Thursdays) problems arose when the main courtroom on the ground floor was taken over for circuit court sittings a number of times during the year.
When district court sittings were moved upstairs to court no 3, severe congestion arose. At each sitting, an average of 130 cases was listed and this resulted in overcrowding in the courtroom itself and a resulting wait for many people on the landing outside where there is very little seating.
The Meath Chronicle raised the issue with Fine Gael Cllr Noel French and he made representations to the Courts Service over the problems. Cllr French was told the courthouse refurbishment programme was “virtually stopped” due to a lack of funds. While this was understandable because of conditions in the country at the time, the effects would continue to be felt in the short to medium term.
Officials said they were aware of the problems at Navan and Trim, however they and local court officials were working with the judiciary and other stakeholders to minimise problems.
The service is currently engaged in a programme of works to bring seven courthouses on line in the next 10 months. “When this programme of work is completed, we hope to move immediately to start work on a new programme of courthouse refurbishment and one of the towns earmarked for work is Navan,” the officials said.
It was stressed that there was “no quick fix” to the congestion problems at Trim. The Courts Service said it would continue to try to minimise problems there