The Government’s stimulus package unveiled yesterday (23 July) includes €24m of funding for the justice sector.
The Courts Service will receive €5m to help deal with the significant backlog of criminal trials that has built up due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding is being provided to lease, fit out and install technology to allow criminal trials to go ahead at a number of new locations while observing social distancing.
“The Courts Service is already modernising access to justice for citizens, but the pandemic provides the opportunity to permanently implement reforms and firmly place the courts on a digital first footing,” said Justice Minister Helen McEntee (pictured).
In addition, money is being made available to renovate the Traffic Court building in Dublin to add additional capacity to court infrastructure.
This building, on Smithfield Square, has been vacant for around 20 years. A survey carried out in 2019 indicates that significant work will be needed to get the building to an acceptable standard.
The Courts Service was recently also given extra funding for the construction of a new family law court at Hammond Lane.
The Irish Prison service will receive €8m for a number of refurbishment measures, including security-related work, lighting and fire alarm upgrades.
€11m of the package will go to An Garda Síochána to modernise, lease and refurbish additional space for Garda stations.
Minister McEntee said the new funding would further support the implementation of the report from the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland.
“Tackling domestic violence is also a priority for me and I am pleased that the funding being made available will continue the rollout of An Garda Síochána’s Divisional Protective Service Units, which deliver a more consistent nationwide approach to the investigation of crime relating to domestic violence, sexual crime, human trafficking and domestic abuse,” the minister said.