IT systems essential for modern court service, says Chief Justice

New Letterkenny court building one of seven projects being completed under €140m scheme

“A courthouse can be an intimidating place and it is a place where life-changing decisions occur on a daily basis,” said Mr Justice Frank Clarke

“A courthouse can be an intimidating place and it is a place where life-changing decisions occur on a daily basis,” said Mr Justice Frank Clarke

 

Up-to-date technology was essential in the delivery of a modern, efficient court system, it was stressed on Monday as a new courthouse was officially opened in Letterkenny.

The Chief Justice, Mr Justice Frank Clarke, and the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, officiated at the occasion – one of seven projects being completed under a €140 million public-private partnership with the leading civil engineering contractor BAM Ireland.

“As we leave the great recession behind us, we can once again look forward to having the funds to invest in improving the development of Government initiatives,” Mr Justice Clarke said.

“In the recent past, initiatives such as small claims and fines online and the electronic transfer of family law payments have proven to be efficient and are increasingly popular with court users.

“Such projects provide the public with a swift round-the-clock portal to facilitate the provision of a large amount of information for the public online.

“This is an area we hope to develop in the future as resources become available. These developments are vitally needed to ensure that the courts meet the needs of times which are changing – organisationally, economically and culturally.”

Letterkenny’s courthouse replaces the old courthouse in the town which had served Donegal since 1831.

Mr Justice Clarke said: “The old courthouse is a fine building, but after 187 years the level of activity and the needs of a modern courts system became more than it could manage.”

High Court

The Letterkenny courthouse will accommodate hearings of the Circuit and District Court and may also be used by the High Court and Central Criminal Court.

Mr Justice Clarke’s comments were echoed by Mr Flanagan, who said the opening represented a “landmark day”.

He said: “A courthouse can be an intimidating place and it is a place where life-changing decisions occur on a daily basis.

“The Government has prioritised reform of the courts. It is only right that, as we reform and update our laws and our legal system, that we update our court structure. We need to continue the exciting programme of developing IT systems through the courts.”

Courts in Drogheda and Letterkenny have now been opened while the new courthouse in Wexford will be opened next week with new or refurbished buildings to open soon in Limerick, Waterford, Cork and Mullingar.