Bid to retain Mid and East Antrim’s last courthouse

Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC
Ballymena Courthouse. INBT02-213AC

Mid and East Antrim Council is due to bid to retain regional and sub regional justice services at Ballymena Courthouse amid the Department of Justice’s proposal to close the facility.

The local site is one of eight across the Province that the Department is of Justice is proposing to close due to budget cuts.

At a council meeting in the Braid on September 7, Mayor of MEA Billy Ashe said he was “glad to see that we are still progressively working to keep Ballymena Courthouse open”.

Chief Executive Anne Donaghy stated: “Council had directed that officers would meet with court officials to examine opportunities in order to maintain a viable presence at Ballymena courthouse and to ensure that the building remains open and that it remains open in service delivery around the justice family.”

Mrs Donaghy said that following operational meetings with court service officials, council had reached agreement that its Head of Assets and Management could look in detail at Ballymena courthouse to “get a better understanding of the facility as we prepare to make a lobby and bid to host some of the regional/sub-regional justice services that will be available for relocation.”

Mrs Donaghy added that an SIB review would give them an indication of the outcome for opportunities to bid for Ballymena courthouse.

She told councillors that the NI Courts Service is due to present its initial findings to her, and that she then wished to reconvene the group with elected members working on it, which is headed by the Mayor.