NI: Crumlin Road Courthouse could become tourist attraction

Belfast’s Crumlin Road Courthouse could be redeveloped into a tourist attraction, a Stormont committee has heard.

Mike Nesbitt MLA asked First Minister Arlene Foster and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness whether there was any intention to bring the closed courthouse “back into public ownership” and link it with the Crumlin Road Gaol visitor attraction.

Mrs Foster said: “There have been discussions with the Department for Social Development. I am not sure where those discussions are at present. You are right that the fabulous development across the road makes it difficult to look at that old courthouse, which I appeared in — I know that I look too young, but there you go — just before it closed.”

Mr McGuinness added: “I think, though, that all of us accept that, if it is possible to bring that under public as opposed to private control, there could be a linkage with the prison and its phenomenal success in attracting visitors. Huge numbers of tourists go there, and a huge number of events are held there.

“The ability to walk through the underground tunnel, come up on the other side in the courthouse and stand in the dock to take photographs would, as somebody said to me when we visited, be a North American tourist’s dream. I think that the building could be put to much more use than that, but that could also be accommodated.”

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