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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 1 April, 2020

Fate of three Cork courts still up in the air

Minister Shatter has said that “no court venue has been singled out or indeed exempted from the review process”.

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter (file photo)
Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter (file photo)
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

FEARS OVER THE closure of court houses in Kinsale, Skibbereen and Clonakilty have been addressed by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

In a response to a question by Deputy Noel Harrington TD, Shatter said that “no court venue has been singled out or indeed exempted from the review process” which has been undertaken by the Courts Service.

The likely impact on other Justice agencies, such as An Garda Síochána and the Irish Prison Service, is also taken into account. I am informed that the review identified a range of venues nationwide which, based on the criteria applied, could be considered for closure subject to a detailed assessment and the preparation of a business case in respect of each identified venue which has now commenced.

The minister said, however, that no decision would be taken without “prior consultation with local stakeholders” and added that “I have no role or function in the matter.”

Addressing the courts in Kinsale, Skibbereen and Clonakilty, Shatter confirmed that “no sittings have been held in Kinsale since 1 October 2010 due to the condition of the courtroom and Kinsale District Court currently sits in Bandon.”

In relation to the courts at Skibbereen and Clonakilty, he said that the “standard of the facilities, numbers of sittings and caseloads require examination in the context of the reviews.”

Speaking to, Harrington said he was glad that it had been confirmed that it would be the Courts Service that would make the final decision. He went on to say:

I wanted to get it on the record that it was more than a spreadsheet and that these closures would impact people. I also wanted to make it known that the cost of running one of these courts is about €10,000 per annum. If the closures are part of a cost savings exercise, the savings are going to be minimal.

“At least the stakeholders will have a chance to enter the consultations,” he said.

Read: Three rural courts ‘under assessment’ >

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Paul Hyland

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