Ahern signs new courts legislation


The Minister for Justice has today has signed legal documents to pave the way for the operation of the new Criminal Courts of Justice building at Parkgate Street, Dublin.

Criminal trials from the Dublin District court will begin at the new building from tomorrow, while trials and appeals in other criminal cases will start in January.

In a statement today, Minister Dermot Ahern said: "This is the largest court building project undertaken since Gandon's iconic Four Courts was completed towards the end of the 18th century and is one of the most significant developments in the history of the courts in Ireland.

"This enabling legislation provides for streamlined and efficient custody management and administrative operations within the building.

"I am particularly pleased that the new building will provide vastly improved conditions for the public, jurors, victims and their families with secure segregated accommodation areas and access routes," Mr Ahern said.

A €140 million criminal court complex, located on the western side of the city’s legal quarter on the corner of Parkgate Street and Infirmary Road, contains 22 courts and an additional 450 rooms.

The 23,000 square-metre complex will eventually become home to the Court of Criminal Appeal, Special Criminal Court, Central Criminal Court, the Circuit Criminal Court, the District Courts and their associated facilities.

The basement of the complex contains cell accommodation for up to 100 detainees, which will eventually end the practice of defendants being brought to court handcuffed and in public view.

Half of the courtrooms have electronic evidence display facilities, and six have video conferencing and video link facilities.

The Courts Service said the Criminal Courts of Justice has the potential to hear up to 200,000 cases per year.