The Justice Minister will be questioned in a private car park outside Cork City Court

The Attorney General is to be asked to explain how and why the Courts Service has private parking just outside the historic Cork Circuit Courthouse building.

This follows renewed debate over the layout following the installation of new bollards to protect the car park next to the steps of the historic building last week.

The Courts Service told the Irish Examiner that planning permission was not required for the work and he dismissed suggestions on social media that the area had been used as a car wash last week.

Six new slim bollards were installed in front of the three-vehicle parking area last week, prompting a flurry of comments on social media about the controversial parking arrangement.

A photograph was also posted online which purported to show a car parked in the area being washed down by someone wielding a supply hose, sparking a series of questions and criticisms about the area’s use for the parking.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service said the new bollards, installed last Tuesday and Wednesday, replaced steel bollards previously installed. He said a building permit was not required.

“This was done in conjunction with the OPW and replaces the old damaged steel barriers that were in the same space,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said that following the installation of the bollards, cleaners undertook “a thorough deep wash” around the parking area and around the courthouse steps.

He said this high-pressure washing was carried out in the area around which a car was parked at the time, but he insisted the area was not used for car washing.

The layout of the car park was in the spotlight in 2020 after the Irish Examiner reported how taxpayers had to fund repairs to a nearby trail area that had been badly damaged by years of illegal parking.

At the time, the Courts Service confirmed that private parking was in place just off the courthouse steps. He said that when the courthouse underwent extensive renovations in 2001, the Courts Service indicated that it would retain this portion of the land to facilitate parking for those providing services to the Courts Service.

This area of ​​land is within the perimeter of the courthouse and is owned by the Courts Service, but is only accessible by driving on an area of ​​public footpath.

The spokesman said at the time that no more than three vehicles could park there at any one time and that separate parking arrangements were in place elsewhere for judges and court service staff.

Green Party Cllr Oliver Moran said party colleague Neasa Hourigan TD has now agreed to ask the Justice Minister a series of questions about the parking arrangement and whether planning permission exists for parking there .

City Hall also insisted that parking on the sidewalks in and around the courthouse, or in any area of ​​the city, is not permitted and parking fines are issued.