Sligo Fianna Fáil Senator Marc Mac Sharry has said he is appalled by the decision to close Ballymote Courthouse. 

Senator Mac Sharry said: “Confirmation from the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter today that Ballymote Courthouse is to close is extremely disappointing and should not go ahead. 

“I am calling on the Minister to publish a cost-benefit analysis of this decision by the Court Service to show the projected savings involved in this decision and to demonstrate whether or not this analysis takes account of the increased costs of Gardaí travelling to Sligo for court business. 

“There is also the potential for further costs to be incurred on the part of Judges and court staff that will also have to travel longer distances to work.  There is a genuine case for keeping the courthouse open.  The Garda District Headquarters is servicing a large geographical area from Ballymote, as far as Enniscrone and large parts of south, east and west Sligo. 

“The withdrawal of Government and public services from small towns in times of recession will further cause difficulties for the local economy.  While some businesses are forced to reduce activity, or in some cases close altogether, as a result of the economic downturn the logic of Government also pulling back from local communities simply doesn’t exist. 

“Ballymote Courthouse dates backs to the early 1800s.  It is one of the oldest in the country and should be saved from closure. 

“The Minister for Justice should immediately publish the documentation that backs-up this decision.  I do not believe it is right decision, economically or socially.”