Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has expressed his extreme disappointment at the confirmation that the District Courts in Edenderry and Birr will both be closed at the end of June.
Deputy Cowen commented: “I am very disappointed that after an extensive consultation process, where a strong case was made for the retention of these courthouses, the decision has been made by the building committee of the Courts Service to axe them.
“The nearest court-house to Edenderry is Tullamore, for example, which is 35km away. This will pose major problems for Gardaí attending court sittings in Tullamore. With Garda resources already stretched, we recently learned that an extra 1,400 officers may be lost from the force this year, this will pose huge logistical problems.
“I will now seek to appeal this decision that will adversely affect the quality of court service in Offaly. I feel it is the wrong decision and having liaised with the relevant stakeholders; I know how valuable Edenderry and Birr courthouses are.
“This decision is further evidence of a clear anti-rural bias of this Government. We have seen the diminution of local services; including the closure of local post offices, Garda stations while small rural schools are also under threat.
“There will be strong opposition to this decision and I am urging an urgent rethink by the Courts Service.”