THE Mayo town which held the first court sitting after the foundation of the Irish Free State will lose its District Court sitting from tomorrow, September 1.
Ballinrobe District Court will be closed for good and amalgamated with Castlebar District Court as of tomorrow. The rural District Court has been closed for over a year and a half due to “poor facilities... pending a review of security arrangements,” according to the Courts Service.
Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council, and Ballinrobe man, Cllr Michael Burke expressed his disappointment about the closure but acknowledged that it was a losing battle once it closed originally.
“I am obviously very disappointed, the people all around Ballinrobe will be forced to go to Castlebar and I suppose the only thing we can hope for is that the Court House will be done up when some funding is made available.
“When it was closing we tried to make a strong case for it... we had the problem of it being on the second floor making it a non wheelchair accessible building too,” said Cllr Burke.
When asked if he thought this was a sign that rural courts were going to be centralised in urban centers Cllr Burke told The Mayo News that he thought it was ‘very possible’.
“We will probably see rural courts all sitting in Castlebar in the future. There are quite a number of people around the surrounding areas here and it is just bad for Ballinrobe. The government talks about decentralisation but this is going in the opposite way. Once the court closed originally it was very unlikely that it would open again,” Cllr Burke concluded.
Cathy MacDarby, a Ballinrobe Solicitor told The Mayo News that she has seen a direct effect to her business with the closing of the Ballinrobe court.
“It’s a big loss to Ballinrobe. We would all hope the the Ballinrobe District Court would open up again. It will directly affect our business. If you see a Castlebar District Court on a summons you immediately would think to ring a Castlebar solicitor and it will have a direct knock-on effect,” she told The Mayo News.
“There used to be a great buzz around the town when the court was sitting. My colleagues and I used to have tea and lunch in the town and that’s all gone now” she added.
Any cases adjourned or listed for sittings in Ballinrobe will not be affected by the amalgamation and will be heard in Castlebar District Court on their listed date.