The case to keep Limavady courthouse open is a strong one but more people need to make it known, local MP Gregory Campbell has said.
Mr Campbell this week slammed local political rivals who failed to submit their views on the proposed closure of the Limavady courthouse during the official consultation process.
The DUP MP said: “Over the past 13 years I have supported the necessity of retention since the first uncertainty arose during a consultation in 2002. Considering the large rural area that Limavady Courthouse serves it is essential that people have good access to the legal system if it is required.”
The DUP man recently asked the Justice Minister, David Ford, to detail those who made their views on the proposed closure of Limavady courthouse known.
After discovering that the Probation Board were the only other respondents, excluding both Mr Campbell and five other DUP colleagues, the East Londonderry MP said: “There is uncertainty on the future of the Courthouse but I believe the case for retaining it is a very strong one. However, I am extremely disappointed that of the seven respondents to the consultation on the future of the Courthouse, there were SIX from myself and my DUP colleagues and one from the Probation Board for Northern Ireland. According to the Minister’s reply there wasn’t a single response from any other political representative or other interested body in the Limavady area.
“Given the number of Political Parties representing the Limavady area in Causeway Coast and Glens Council and the NI assembly, one would have expected some response. John Dallat MLA asked the Minister of Justice an oral question regarding the Courthouse on the floor of the Northern Ireland Assembly on the very last day of the Consultation – 18 May 2015. The irony was that despite this date being an extended deadline for responses to consultation, Mr Dallat still was unable to submit any response.”
He added: “Closure would add an additional expense in travelling to Coleraine or Londonderry and restrict access to the Justice system to some of the most vulnerable people in our society. Hopefully the case for retention will be responded to positively.”