Rural courts set to close as cuts bite ever deeperAugust 30, 2012 - 7:00am
Four courthouses in County Galway have been earmarked for closure – three of them in the Gaeltacht area which will mean an end to Irish language hearings.
Though there is no time frame for this, concerns have been raised already about the inconvenience of having to travel to Galway city for court sittings if courthouses in An Spideál, Dóire Né and Cill Ronan on the Aran Islands are closed.
And this comes at a time when the future of a number of Garda stations is also understood to be under review – Justice Minister Alan Shatter has already closed 29 around the country but there are growing fears that a second raft of shutdowns is being considered.
Gort Courthouse is also on a list of a survey carried out on behalf of the Court Services, though that is technically in the Ennis Court District and not under the Galway offices.
The survey examined each courthouse for accessibility, if they had a holding cell, proximity to the nearest town/city courthouse, number of sittings, case loads and availability of technology.
Brendan McDonald, Western Regional Manager of the Court Services, said that the report was under consideration and that the next stage was to start a consultation process.
He further added that no decision had been made in relation to an Spidéal or Dóire Né, or Aran.
But Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh criticised any suggestion that courthouses would be closed in the Gaeltacht area.
“This is a retrograde step as it would centralise court services and put extra expense on citizens to get to court sittings. We will be vigorously campaigning to have these courthouses retained or else replaced by alternative venues,” he said.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.