Kilkenny Courts Cancellation Raised in the Dáil
No consideration for citizens says John McGuinness
Local T.D. John McGuinness has fiercely defended Kilkenny citizens who are due to have a court hearing but waiting years to do so and now told their sitting will not proceed due to the recent cancellation of the High Court and Civil Circuit Court sittings in Kilkenny. Deputy McGuinness said that ‘The President of the High Court should have shown a little more consideration for the citizens who have to appear before that court’.
“When the High Court sits in Kilkenny each year it deals with quite a number of cases pretty efficiently. It was explained to the president of the Kilkenny Solicitors Bar Association that this cancellation resulted from a shortage of judges. The President of the High Court informed the local bar association of this. It is high-handed. This court serves the region very well and deals with a great number of cases. Many people who are listed for a hearing have been waiting for years. Having built themselves up emotionally to go to court and have their case heard, they were told, at short notice, that the sitting would not proceed.
“The civil court list was also cancelled at very short notice. Again the reason given was that there is a shortage of judges. Is that the case? Is there such a shortage of judges that the provincial court sittings have to be cancelled at the last minute?,” he said.
“Is the system so out of touch with the people who appear before the courts that it could not, or would not, give consideration to the serious difficulties this has caused for the individuals in question?,” he asked.
Speaking in the Dail, Deputy McGuinness asked the Minister what his views were on ‘the excuse used, the lack of judges?’.
“Is this an effort by the Judiciary to put pressure on the Minister to appoint even more judges? Is there a business case for the appointment of judges at which I can look? This decision is unsatisfactory in respect of both the High Court list and the civil case list. I want an explanation.”
The Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed (standing in for the Minister for Justice) responded by saying that a decision to cancel the High Court personal injuries list in Kilkenny due to a shortage of judges.
“With regard to the Circuit Court sittings in Kilkenny, the listing of cases and the cancellation of lists are matters for the President of the Circuit Court,” added the Minister.
Deputy McGuinness asked the Minister if he believed that the President of the High Court, and thereafter the President of the Circuit Court, were using these cancellations to force the Minister to appoint more judges.
“Where is the information to inform me, as a Member of this House, that these judges were in fact needed?,” he asked.
“The whole idea of provincial sittings is to deal with issues at that level and give people a chance. In my opinion they have not been given a chance. They have been shown a great discourtesy by the Judiciary,” he added.