Courts Service promises tighter security at new family law complex after man pulls gun on judge



Phoenix House
Photo: Google Street View

The Courts Service of Ireland has promised “airport-style security” at the planned €40 million Hammond Lane family law complex following a security incident at Phoenix House yesterday.

According to gardaí, a man pulled out a fake gun and hoax bomb during a family law hearing being heard by Judge Susan Ryan in the Circuit Family Court.

The judge and legal teams were unable to leave the courtroom until the man surrendered to armed gardaí.

The Bar Council of Ireland said it has previously raised issues of safety and security of barristers with the Courts Service.

A spokesperson for the Courts Service said: “The Courts Service is very concerned at the nature of this incident, and is thankful that all our colleagues and the public remained safe. This incident highlights the need to constantly keep courthouse security under review - in terms of both a Garda presence and appropriate security at each court sitting.”

The service added: “When family law sittings are centralised in the planned Hammond Lane Family Law complex, airport style security will be in place.

“This level of security has been operational in the Four Courts and the Criminal Courts of Justice for over a decade. Such security measures limit the opportunity for incidents such as the one this morning.”

A spokesperson for the Bar Council of Ireland said: “The shocking events in the Family Court in Phoenix House this morning and other recent high profile incidents involving assaults on barristers are of utmost concern to The Bar of Ireland.

“Issues of safety and security of barristers, and all those working in the Courts system, are an absolute priority for the Bar and these matters have previously been raised with the Courts Service.

“The Bar of Ireland will continue to actively engage with all relevant parties to ensure the protection of our members, and to facilitate a safe environment in which barristers can advocate on behalf of their clients.”

Commenting on the incident, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “While thankful that nobody involved was injured, I am nonetheless conscious of the impact on the judge, court personnel and all others who were in the court at the time.

“The security of the courts and the safety of all who use the courts is a matter of the highest priority for me. The courts play a fundamental role in our justice system and must always be able to operate without hindrance.

“I commend the gardaí for their swift actions in response to the incident that unfolded. The matter is now the subject of a Garda investigation.”