Courthouse closure talks

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

Councillors will be putting their concerns over the proposed closure of Ballymena Courthouse face-to-face with Justice Minister David Ford on Thursday.

Mid & East Antrim Council have secured a meeting in Ballymena with Mr Ford on the controversial

plan by the Department of Justice to axe eight of the province’s 20 courthouses including Ballymena.

The meeting will get underway at 10am in the Braid and will be attended by councillors Tommy Nicholl, Brian Collins, Timothy Gaston and Billy Henry and invitations have also gone out to the Chamber of Commerce, MP and MLAs.

Following an update on the arrangements to Council’s June monthly meeting, Cr Paul Reid pointed out that since Larne courthouse had closed local court business had been heard in Ballymena which, if closed, would mean the transfer of cases to either Coleraine or Antrim.

“There is no public transport to Coleraine and zero public transport to Antrim,” he said, adding: “I’d like to know what the Minister is proposing for people in Larne.”

Responding, Cllr Stephen Nicholl stated: “They are not coming to put something on the table...They are coming to see what we are putting on the table for them”.