Tuesday 17 July 2018

Town steps up its campaign to stop court closure plan

Dun Laoghaire courthouse.
Dun Laoghaire courthouse.

DUN Laoghaire will tonight stage a show of strength in its campaign to retain the town's courthouse.

Business groups believe it would be a "disaster" if cases were moved to Dublin city centre.

As part of rationalisation plans, the Courts Service has proposed shutting courthouses in Tallaght, Dun Laoghaire, Swords and Balbriggan.

The Dun Laoghaire Business Improvement District (BID) carried out a survey of 805 ratepayers and the results showed the extent of opposition.

"The findings were very definitive. It would be a disaster for the town," said BID chairman Don McManus.

Cafes, shops and legal professionals say they will lose business if the courthouse is closed, they claim.

Fine Gael TD Mary Mitchell O'Connor said she is also concerned about requiring young offenders to travel to the Courts of Criminal Justice (CCJ) on Parkgate Street.

"I don't think that is the way forward. They are going to learn more about criminality there than they would ever learn in Dun Laoghaire," she said.


Cllr Josepha Madigan, who is a solicitor, said her main concern would be access to justice for defendants.

"Dun Laoghaire court operates five days a week and covers a population of up to 400,000 people. It covers a lot of marginalised people that would not have the money to go to court in other parts of Dublin," she told the Herald.

A large attendance is expected at the Royal Marine Hotel for a meeting tonight, sponsored by the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown Ratepayers Association.

Chief Justice, Susan Denham, said last week that court sittings in Dublin will have to be cancelled at short notice unless the service is streamlined.

"If we do not change the organisation of court venues and use the resources and 
staff available in a more streamlined way it is inevitable that there will be disruption," she said.

The Courts Service is currently engaged in a public consultation process regarding cost-cutting plans.


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