“This act of indifference to the public should not be allowed to proceed”

Law Society urges Ministerial intervention on closure of Four Courts public restaurant

The Law Society of Ireland Director General Ken Murphy has called on the Minister for Justice to intervene and halt plans to permanently close the public restaurant in the Four Courts.

In a letter to Minister Charlie Flanagan this week, Mr Murphy explains that, “this is an invaluable facility for the members of the public, many hundreds of whom have business in the Four Courts on every working day on which the Courts are sitting.”

“It is, unfortunately, in the nature of the operation of court lists that a great deal of time is spent by individuals with business before the courts - parties, witnesses of fact, expert witnesses, friends and supporters of litigants - waiting for cases to commence hearing in front of the courts. The waiting and delays in this regard can last hours, days or, in some instances, weeks.”

“The experience of the courts, for members of the public, is often highly stressful. People frequently are disinclined, while waiting, to share the court room space with other parties with whom they may be deeply in contention. It helps people to manage the stress if they have an alternative place within the building to go in such circumstances.”

Mr Murphy highlights that, due to a lack of seating in the Four Courts complex, people may find themselves standing in the corridors, or even sitting on the floor, for hours on end. “It is no answer to suggest that there are coffee houses in the vicinity of the Four Courts building.”

“Great progress has been made, in the public interest, in improving facilities in the courts across the country in recent years. This act of indifference to the public should not be allowed to proceed.“

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