We use cookies to collect and analyse information on site performance and usage to improve and customise your experience, where applicable. View our Cookies Policy. Click Accept and continue to use our website or Manage to review and update your preferences.

Justice minister confirms extra funds for Hammond Lane development
Justice minister Helen McEntee Pic:RollingNews.ie

14 Jul 2020 / justice Print

Justice minister confirms Hammond Lane go-ahead

Additional funds to begin preparatory works on the long-awaited family law complex at Hammond Lane in Smithfield, Dublin 7, have been announced by justice minister Helen McEntee.

The justice minister has confirmed that €15.4 million of the total €66 million Courts Service 2020 budget, will be allocated for courthouse capital works.

This sum will cover ongoing preparatory work on a dedicated Dublin family court complex on Hammond Lane, Minister McEntee said.


The news has been welcomed by family law solicitor and campaigner Keith Walsh.

Tús maith leath na h-oibre – Hammond Lane may be built in our lifetime,” he said this morning.

“I am very pleased to announce that my Department has, working with the Courts Service, been able to secure sufficient additional funding to allow the Hammond Lane Project to go ahead,” the minister said.


“While I can’t confirm exact figures as the future project will have to go to tender, it will provide enough to deliver a modern, fit-for-purpose family court for the citizens of Dublin. 
“This New Family Courts Project in Hammond Lane will be an important step towards reforming the family courts system in Ireland.  I hope to bring my proposals to modernise the family justice system to Government in the coming weeks,” the minister said.

“In the Programme for Government, there is a commitment to build a new Family Law Court building in Dublin and ensure that court facilities across the country are suitable for family law hearings, so that these hearings can be held separately from other cases,” she continued.

“It is no exaggeration to say that I thought this building would not be finished in my professional lifetime,” family law solicitor Keith Walsh told Gazette.ie this morning.

“Delay has followed on delay. Litigants, judges, court staff, witnesses and lawyers continue to work in conditions of Dickensian squalor in the child and family law courts while the criminal justice system were rehoused in 21st century splendour and court buildings the length and breadth of Ireland were upgraded,” he said.


However, while welcoming the announcement, Keith Walsh cautioned that there is no detail on the precise budget allocated for the Hammond Lane project and that completion may be many years away.

“However, let’s hope that this is the end of the beginning of this project and that all family law stakeholders can look forward to even the most basic modern facilities being made available in the coming years,” he said.

Solicitor and Law Society Family and Child Law Committee member Keith Walsh also welcomed promised reform of the family courts system.


“It is about time that the Family Courts Bill is published so that its proposals can be considered by all those involved in family law so that we can all work together to modernise the family justice system to make it work for the children and families.

“In particular I hope there will be an opportunity for mediation, collaborative law and ADR to work in parallel or in substitution with the existing courts process,” he said.

Family lawyers and NGOs united last year to form ‘Courting disaster’ a lobby group pushing for systemic changes to the family justice system. 

Sinéad Kearney of ByrneWallace is the legal advisor to the Child and Family Agency and specialises in adoption law, children’s mental health and constitutional rights.  

She told Gazette.ie: “I very much welcome this long overdue development.

“While vulnerable respondents continue to have to deal with the most traumatic of cases in 18th century conditions, it is a matter of great relief that there is now light at the end of the tunnel.”

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland