First Co Clare district court sitting of year held in pub

Beer taps and disco lights visible as cases heard at Brian Boru pub in Killaloe

The first district court sitting of 2016 in Co Clare took place on Tuesday at the Brian Boru pub - two years after the Courts Service signalled it could be last orders for cases being heard in bars. Image: Google Maps.

The first district court sitting of 2016 in Co Clare took place on Tuesday at the Brian Boru pub - two years after the Courts Service signalled it could be last orders for cases being heard in bars. Image: Google Maps.

 

The first district court sitting of 2016 in Co Clare took place on Tuesday at the Brian Boru pub - two years after the Courts Service signalled it could be last orders for cases being heard in bars.

In January 2014, a sitting of Killaloe District Court in the Ballina pub made headlines around the world when designer Ralph Lauren’s niece, Jenny Lauren, appeared at the pub in relation to an air rage incident on a New York bound flight.

The Courts Service afterwards confirmed the staging of the court at the pub would form part of a strategic review of court venues. During the subsequent Court Service consultation process, local gardaí and lawyers argued that the court should remain in Killaloe.

Should the closure of Killaloe proceed, Clare will be left with only two court venues, Ennis and Kilrush in the west, to cover the county.

On Tuesday, Guinness and Heineken taps at the bar were visible to those in the court and there were disco lights over the head of Judge Patrick Durcan.

Ennis is about 50km from Killaloe and one of those at court on Tuesday, solicitor, James Nash said: “When I commenced practice 32 years ago in east Clare, there were three courts serving east Clare — Scarriff, Tulla and Killaloe and one would imagine that Killaloe would survive.”

Mr Nash said that if Killaloe court was to close “this would be the opposite of decentralisation. It is very important that you have a Garda station and a court as close to the people they are serving as possible.”

Mr Nash said that he has no issue with the court being held in the pub. He said: “I never had a problem with it. I think it is quite comfortable.”

Courts Service regional manager Brendan McDonald said the pub venue had been reviewed and a business case had been prepared but not yet finalised.

“I met with An Garda Siochana late in 2015 and have postponed a finalisation of the business case so that they may seek possible alternative accommodation,” he said.

“The Courts Service in association with An Garda Síochána have already conducted such a search for alternative accommodation not alone in Killaloe but across east Clare but to no avail.”

He said the current arrangement has “worked well as a temporary arrangement” but is “not suitable in the long-term”.