Judge lashes out over court closuresSeptember 20, 2012 - 7:00am
A District Court judge has spoken out against the proposed closure of a number of rural courts in Connemara, which would effectively see an end to Irish language hearings.
Judge Mary Fahy was speaking at Thursday’s sitting of Spiddal District Court, a newly-refurbished building which is one of the venues earmarked for the chop.
Apologising for being slightly late, she told Gardaí, legal professionals, and members of the public, that she had just come from a meeting with the regional manager of the Court Services, Brendan McDonald.
Under the cost cutting measures proposed by the organisation, three courthouses in Judge Fahy’s district – Spiddal, Derrynea in Carna, and Cill Ronan on the Aran Islands – would close and business would be dealt with in Galway District Court instead.
One of the biggest issues envisaged is the difficulty for Irish speakers to have their cases heard in their native tongue.
Currently, Gardaí, defendants and witnesses attending these three rural courts have the option to take the oath and give evidence in Irish, as Judge Fahy is adept at dealing with cases as Gaeilge, as is the court clerk.
However, when these cases are centralised to Galway, this option may not be as readily available.
It will also involve an added inconvenience for people from these rural areas – where public transport is not always readily available – to travel to the city for cases that may not even be reached on the allotted date as lists will be consequently longer.
On Thursday, Judge Fahy expressed her dissatisfaction with the proposed closures of the three courts, adding that she was totally against the move.
See full story in this week's Connacht Tribune.