Thursday 7 August 2014

Save Dun Laoghaire Courthouse!

Dun Laoghaire's courthouse has been in operation since the 1800's and not just for the legal profession, but for residents in the locality, it has been a symbolic building in the town for many years.

The implications of removing the courthouse, will have far reaching effects on the carriage of justice in the area and ensuring that matters are dealt with in a timely and efficient manner.

How you ask?

Firstly , the state's proposal is to have all the listings in the District Court in Dun Laoghaire centralised at the CCJ (Criminal Courts) on Park Gate Street, (beside the Phoenix Park.)

In legal matters, particularly criminal matters, the attendance of witnesses, is key to the smooth running of legal matters. Witnesses such as you or I , local Gardai, business owners etc, are required to ensure that an accurate assessment of the specific matter is conducted and ruled on thereafter.

The realities of the proposed centralisation, is that witnesses to matters that have occurred locally, will be less likely to have the time or desire to travel into the City Centre to assist with local matters, that will be listed centrally now. This will undoubtedly lead to cases being frustrated or ultimately collapsing due to a lack of corroborating (supporting) evidence.

Same can be said for Family Law matters, with local social workers and therapists, experiencing the same difficulties. Whilst if one is summonsed to court, there is a legal requirement to attend- however the practicalities is,  that it does not always occur that way and convenience is an important factor.

The State is proposing a saving of circa €40,000 in exchange for the closing of the courthouse in Dun Laoghaire. You do not need to be an economist to weigh up the costs to the state, of potential appeals, retrials , judicial reviews, due to criminal matters collapsing. Most of which are legally aided by the State.

The reality is this proposal is extremely short sighted and for my mind, what will happen is, that in years to come, the necessity to re-open the court house in Dun Laoghaire again, will become apparent.

As a community we can oppose this proposal, by having our voices heard and lobbying the relevant parties and contacting our local politicians.

Wesley Hudson

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