Dublin review could lead to closures of some courthouses
Staff numbers in Courts Service “will be cut”
The ferry port, Dún Laoghaire. The town’s court house is seen as the most vulnerable to closure.
A review of District and Circuit Court services in the greater Dublin area could lead to the closure of some local courthouses.
The Courts Service, which manages the courts, is carrying out the review in Dublin having completed an examination of 96 venues outside the capital last year. That review produced a list of 41 courts for possible closure, and so far eight are to be closed by the end of the year.
While no decisions have been made about closing any of the courts in Dublin, sources have said Dún Laoghaire courthouse is among the most vulnerable. The building on Corrig Avenue, opened in 1993, deals with civil and criminal cases. It sits five days a week and is the centre for cases originating in Dún Laoghaire, Dalkey, Blackrock, Cabinteely, Kill O’ the Grange, Shankill, Dundrum and Stepaside.
If it were to shut, business would be transferred to the city centre or to Bray.
The Courts Service has written to practitioners in the greater Dublin area seeking submissions on the operations of the courts.
A draft report has also been prepared for senior management and is currently under consideration.
In a letter to practitioners earlier this year, the Courts Service said it was facing staff cuts “in the near future” along with a cut to its financial budget.
“You will be aware of efforts outside of Dublin to establish combined court service offices as part of the effort to deliver services in the future,” the letter said.
“The time is now ripe to conduct a review of services in Dublin, focusing particularly on the circuit and district courts to establish if there is a more efficient way of arranging and supporting courts.”
The letter said areas for discussion with practitioners would include the usage of existing court buildings and the extension of the Dublin Metropolitan District to include areas in surrounding counties.
Also under consideration are the current arrangements for specific types of business in Dublin, such as juvenile, family and drug treatment courts.
When the courts outside Dublin were considered for possible closure, they were assessed under set criteria. Points were awarded for physical condition, annual case count, ownership, on-site holding cells and other factors.
It is unclear at this stage whether these criteria will be applied to courts in the greater Dublin area if it is decided that some should be shut.