Friday 19 January 2018

Law Society President criticises 'devastating' cuts to the justice system

Judge's gavel
Judge's gavel

Sarah Jane Murphy

The President of the Law Society of Ireland, Kevin O'Higgins, has expressed his dismay that 'devastating' cuts to the justice system have been met with "near radio silence".

Speaking at the Annual Dinner of the Law Society in Blackhall Place, Mr. O'Higgins said that while cuts to health and education cuts lead to a healthy national debate, the reduction of court services has been largely ignored.

Since 2008 seventy-seven court venues across the country have closed. He said that there was widespread relief among the profession that the planned closure of courts in Dun Laoghaire, Swords, Balbriggan and Tallaght did not go ahead.

Mr O'Higgins said that under-staffing remains a major problem within the system and it has lead to delays and "a major degradation of services".

He stated that an effective justice system is "of vital importance for a functioning democracy and for the cohesion of the state".

He said that in certain courthouses in the north west it can be a challenge to have a phone call answered, as staff are so thin on the ground.

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