VACANT Westport Courthouse has been unoccupied since 2013. Pic: Google Maps
No immediate plans for ‘landmark’ building
MAYO County Council has taken ownership of the old Westport Courthouse building, but there is no immediate plans in place for its future use.
Westport Courthouse has been closed since 2013 when the Court Service transferred all hearings for the Westport district to Castlebar for health and safety reasons. The courthouse, which dates back to the 19th century, is a protected building and in 2015 the Court Service confirmed it had no intention to reopen it.
There was a push by local representatives in Westport for Mayo County Council to take over the building and the courtyard from the Court Services and Director of Services, Catherine McConnell confirmed this was done in the last few weeks.
However, she told The Mayo News that as of now there are no plans to carry out any work on the building or courtyard.
“At the moment we are assessing the condition of the building and securing it and putting in an alarm to ensure it is secure. We have no plans at the moment that we could point to to say this is what intend to do,” she said.
Ms McConnell said the building was offered to Mayo County Council and they took it to secure a ‘landmark’ building in the town.
The takeover of the building by Mayo County Council was welcomed by local councillors, who said they hoped it will be put to use in the future. Independent councillor Christy Hyland said he was delighted by the news and stated that he and his Westport based colleagues Peter Flynn and Brendan Mulroy will work to secure funding for it.
He said that while there are no concrete plans for the building it would be his preference to see it used by arts and culture groups in the town.
“It was vital that the council got the building in its possession and we can now work to make use of the building and the courtyard, which has a lot of potential. It will prove to be a great asset to the town. While everything is on the table in terms of its use, it would be my preference that it would be used for the arts and culture. Going forward I would like to see these organisations in Westport using it,” he said.