Irish Courts Service desperate for IT budget boost

Irish Courts Service desperate for IT budget boost

The Courts Service of Ireland is “scraping around” for cash to prop up its failing IT system due to five years of budget cuts, the Oireachtas justice committee has been told.

The agency’s IT budget has been slashed from €9.7 million in 2008 to €4.8 million in each of the past five years, and an appeal for an extra €2 million was unsuccessful.

Brendan Ryan, chief executive of the Courts Service, told committee members that money from the capital building programme had been used “to support our IT system, and that cannot continue because we haven’t maintained our court venues for the last five or six years”.

Mr Ryan was appearing before the committee to answer questions about the Courts Service’s annual report for 2014, which was presented to Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald in July.

The committee heard that Courts Service computers are “still working off Windows XP”, which came on the market in 2001 and is no longer officially supported by Microsoft.

The Microsoft website states: “If you continue to use Windows XP now that support has ended, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.”

However, the Courts Service has said its concerns with the software are purely administrative and do not indicate a security threat, The Irish Times reports.

Mr Ryan told the committee that the state of the IT system was his “main concern at the moment as chief executive of the Courts Service”.

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