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Question

133. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the first and full year cost of establishing a community court system in Dublin; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18192/19]

145. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken to implement proposals for a community court in Dublin; the status of a proposed pilot project; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18361/19]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 133 and 145 together.
As the Deputy is aware, my Department led a Working Group of Justice Sector officials to consider options for moving forward on the proposal to establish a Community Court. Building on the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality, the Working Group considered proposals to enhance the approach to tackling low level offenders and effectively addressing their offending behaviour through a Community Justice Intervention type programme. This would be a diversion from the courts system in a way that has the potential to respond more effectively to one-off and repeat, low level offending with the emphasis on speedy processing aimed at reducing the risk of re-offending and would also offer quick referral to the necessary services.
My Department wishes to build on this work and continues to examine a number of possibilities, including the creation of a conditional cautioning system of which there are a number of models. Plans for a pilot project on costs in relation to establishing a community court system in Dublin have been put on hold while the Department examines the options available.