Funding secured for Hammond Lane family courts complex

Funding secured for Hammond Lane family courts complex

Helen McEntee

Funding has been secured to allow the proposed dedicated family courts complex at Hammond Lane to go ahead, Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said.

The project, on a site adjacent to the Four Courts, was originally announced in September 2015 following years of criticism from family lawyers that the existing family courts in Dublin are not fit for purpose.

However, it stagnated for some time because government ministers and public bodies failed to reach agreement on its structure and funding.

Last December, a coalition of legal bodies, charities and NGOs launched a major campaign calling on the government to immediately allocate the necessary funding.

The new coalition government’s programme included 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”.

Family lawyers welcomed that commitment last month, but noted that similar commitments have appeared in government programmes since 2011 and stressed the need for implementation, which now appears to have moved forward.

In a statement, Ms McEntee said: “The total capital budget for the Courts Service in 2020 is €66.017 million, €15.380 million of which will be allocated for courthouse capital works for a variety of courthouses around the country and which will also allow for ongoing preparatory work on a dedicated Dublin family court complex on Hammond Lane.

“To that end 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.

“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.”

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