Supreme court sits in Limerick for the first time

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD Picture: MAXWELLS

THE SUPREME court is important to all of the people, the Chief Justice said in Limerick today.

Mr Justice Frank Clarke was speaking from the new €26 million courthouse on Mulgrave Street in the city as the Supreme Court sat there for the first time in Limerick and only the second time outside Dublin in its entire history.

Outlining the role of the Supreme Court, Mr Justice Clarke said that as the court moves into a more Constitutional role “It’s vital that the court is seen as being important to all of the people”.

He added that it was therefore fitting that the three cases – all planning matters – which the court will hear on its three days of sitting are Munster cases and that the court is hearing the cases “close to the place where they originated”.

The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, will later today (Monday) officially open the new Courthouse.

Speaking ahead of the official opening, Minister Flanagan said: “I am delighted to be in Limerick for the official opening of a new purpose-built state of the art courthouse. This is also a historic occasion as the Supreme Court will sit in this new courthouse today and again tomorrow and Wednesday.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

This is the first time ever that the Supreme Court has visited Limerick and only the second time in history that the Supreme Court has convened outside Dublin, having visited Cork a number of years ago.”

The new Courthouse, a €26m capital project, is home to six courtrooms, including the largest courtroom in Ireland, 200m2 in size, which will primarily host District Court sittings.

Located on a site bounded by Mulgrave Street and Roxboro Road close to Limerick Prison, the new Courthouse is built on the site of a former artillery barracks, one of four in existence in Limerick in the 19th century.

With two of the barracks’ historically significant buildings remaining on the site, the project has delivered a landmark civic building while contributing to public access to an old institutional district of Limerick. It is an additional courthouse for the city as the historic ‘Circuit Courthouse’, located at Merchants Quay, will also continue in use.

The Minister added: “Limerick, like other courthouses, engages daily with citizens dealing with criminal, civil and family law in both the District and Circuit Court. In 2016 alone, over 20,950 matters were dealt with across 408 court sitting days by the District Court sitting in Limerick city. In addition, the Circuit Court dealt with over 1,605 matters across 216 court sitting days.

“User facilities such as a vulnerable witness suite, victim support room, legal practitioners room, enhanced custody facilities, jury reception room, media room and consultation rooms are a welcome addition at the new Courthouse. I am confident that this new courthouse will meet the needs of Limerick and the surrounding area for many decades to come.”

The LImerick court project is one of a number of courthouse projects announced in 2012. Limerick joins a group of completed courthouses comprising of Drogheda, Letterkenny and Wexford, with three further new courthouses or substantial refurbishments to be delivered around the country by Public Private Partnerships in 2018.

In terms of scale, the Courts PPP Bundle is the largest capital building project ever undertaken by the Courts Service, delivering a total of 31 courtrooms and 36,000 m2 of accommodation nationwide.

More about crime and court here.