Crumlin Road Court House targeted again

40% of the Grade B listed Crumlin Road Court House, in Belfast, was destroyed in an arson attack in March. On Friday night fire crews spent 7 hours battling another fire which caused further extensive damage and which is also believed to have been started deliberately. And last night, as the BBC report notes, “Police received a report shortly after midnight that a crowd of about 30 people were throwing petrol bombs at the building from Hopewell Avenue.” From the RTÉ report

A crowd of around 30 gathered shortly after midnight and threw petrol bombs into the building which had been extensively damaged in a fire the night before. The PSNI suspects the first fire was also started deliberately. Police were called to the scene and dispersed the crowd gathered at Hopewell Street at the rear of the building. The Fire & Rescue Service put out the blaze.

Adds And again. More Developer, and NI Policing Board Chairman, Barry Gilligan says he cannot afford to develop the building as planned.And some additional detail from the Irish Times report

When it closed in June 1998 [the Courthouse] was put into cold storage and sealed off. Developer Barry Gilligan later bought the property from the Government for a nominal Stg £1. Initially it was expected to be turned into some form of tourist attraction but in 2006 he announced plans to turn the building into a luxury hotel but no work has ever been started.

That would be developer Barry Gilligan, Chairman of the NI Policing Board.

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  • Jim


    Would I be right in saying if this old historic building was completely demolished then the developer Barry Gilligan could do what he wished with the site?

    Very strange that thirty people assemble to throw petrol bombs at a disused building on the lower crumlin road. Certainly more organised than just teenagers burning after a night of drink and drugs.

  • Two or three properties in a so called protected zone in Ballycastle received relatively minor fire damage yet the authorities hurriedly sanctioned the demolition of a terrace of six.

  • Jim

    Some might say that Jon. Certainly if you only pay a pound for two acres one mile from the city centre you are in the money big time. IMHO nothing on that scale happens without the Lower Shankill UDA knowing about it. Pete have the UPRG released a statement about the two latest attacks?

  • the joxer

    Comment Number 1 seems a tad libellous.
    In any case even if a clear site was available, I’m not sure that its colourful location would sell well on the private market given it’s current ‘state of chassis’.

    As for social housing, the waiting list numbers don’t stack up and a commercial/industrial use is unlikely.

    Any bets that it’ll end up as an overspill car-park for the Mater Hospital?

  • Jimmy Riddler

    The Crumlin Road Courthouse is a listed building and the owner has planning permission for a hotel, although as this didn’t get developed during the boom it was becoming incrwasingly unlikely that it would heppen during the bust.

    Nevin; the authorities didn’t sanction the demolition in Ballycastle – it was unauthorised and without permission – but they just couldn’t be assed doing anything about it by way of prosecution. From what I understand the local police even closed the road off to facilitate the demo. diggers which were on site remarkably quickly.

    I can’t for the life of me understand why a group of up to 30, presumably from the local area, would
    gather to try and destroy one of the most important buildings in their area that could be a future source of employment and even pride. Oh, I forgot, this is Planet Ulster.

  • JR, I understood a member of Building Control sanctioned the demolition of the Quay Road houses. I’ll put out a query to someone who would know.

  • GavBelfast

    Sorry for the naivety, but where were the cops with the crowd of 30 or so taking part in a “live” arson attack on the building?

  • Jimmy Riddler


    Planning powers won’t be devolved to local authorities until 2012 when the RPA changes are supposed to kick-in.

    Building Control officers can certainly issue Dangerous Structure Notices and the like but they can’t give planning approval, albeit that health n’ safety is often used as an excuse for demoliton without consent, as is ignorance of the law.

  • Jim


    Their seems demand in the area at this time for housing and hopefully the Shankill has turned a corner. I can think of Lawnbrook, Silvio Street, and Edenderry lofts of hand that are new build. When these listed buildings are destroyed sometimes illegally by builders the penalties if any seem slight. I would never accuse someone of a crime unless it was proved by the court. You should look at the N.Antrim thread for libel.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    …and how much of the maze do you think will exist?

  • JR, perhaps a DSN was issued for those properties.

  • The Raven

    Riddler – even 2012 looks doubtful. However, I think doubters should look back over the history of built heritage on this island and be in no doubt as to what will happen to the former Courthouse. Libellous or otherwise, it’s a foregone conclusion.

    Suffice to say, for all their faults, if this were across the water, the building would not be suffering a similar fate.