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Dublin: 12 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

Swords, Balbriggan, Tallaght and Dún Laoghaire - You're keeping your courthouses

A plan to close them has been shelved.

File photo
File photo
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

A PLAN TO close four Dublin courthouses has been shelved because of concerns that it would have a negative impact on the justice system and actually increase costs.

The district court buildings in Swords, Balbriggan, Tallaght and Dún Laoghaire were all due to be shut under a proposal by the Courts Service.

The plan faced objections from the Law Society and local politicians and the Courts Service has said that today that they will not be following through on them.

The draft proposals were drawn up following a review by the Courts Service into how it should operate in the context of reduced funding and staffing availability.

The Courts Service decided that the closure of the suburban courthouses would mean that sittings in the remaining courthouses could then be fully staffed.

When the changes were first announced the Court Service accepted that they could lead to some inconvenience and, according to a statement released today, these concerns also appear to have influenced the decision not to press ahead with the plan:

While the reorganisation as proposed would yield significant benefit to the Courts Service, we have always been aware of the potential impact on court users. We have now been told that the proposals could also result in increased costs across the justice sector and be organisationally challenging for other agencies in the sector.

“We are always cognisant of the needs of court users and of other justice sector agencies and have accordingly decided not to proceed with the reorganisation at this time,” the statement added.

Now that the closures will not take place, the Court Service has hinted that increased staffing may be needed. “The issues which triggered the review remain,” they argue.

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“The service will now have no option but to seek alternative strategies, which will inevitability require the assignment of additional resources to maintain existing levels of service.”

The announcement that the closures will not take place has been welcomed by local representatives with Dún Laoghaire TD Mary Mitchell-O’Connor describing it as a “sensible decision which will benefit the whole community”.

Read: Dublin City and County Courts set for first overhaul in decades >

Read: Oxfam, Focus and Garda Trust all benefit from €2m ‘Poor Box’ fund >

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Rónán Duffy

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