herald

Wednesday 15 August 2018

Plan to axe four courthouses abandoned after campaign

A PLAN to close four courthouses across Dublin has been abandoned by the Courts Service of Ireland.

The development comes following significant opposition to proposals to shut down courthouses in Dun Laoghaire, Tallaght, Swords and Balbriggan.

The bid to close suburban court offices was part of a review of the administration and delivery of services in the Dublin region.

During the consultation process, it was widely believed in political and legal circles that the Courts Service board would push ahead with the plans.

LETTERS

Councillors voted to oppose the closures and letters were written to the service highlighting concerns about the ability of the plan to save money and the impact on local justice administration.

However, in a statement yesterday, it was confirmed that the plan has now been shelved by the service after the concerns were taken on-board.

"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," the statement said.

"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," it added.

The Court Service said that the issues that triggered the review remain and alternative strategies would be pursued for cost savings.

DECISION

Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor, who represents Dun Laoghaire, said that she was delighted with the decision not to close the courthouses.

"The Court Services has taken on board the rational arguments made to keep Dun Laoghaire Court House open," she said.

There was a concerted campaign, she added, from community groups, politicians, the council and Dun Laoghaire Business Improvement District to convince the "powers that be" that closing the court would have been a "retrograde decision".

hnews@herald.ie

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