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Question

136. Deputy Finian McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if she will provide an update on the proposal to introduce community courts; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [17178/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy may be aware, I have undertaken to consider the issue of Community Courts in Ireland. It will be important to learn from international experience, and I have asked my Department to evaluate how the Community Court model will work in the Irish context with a view to setting up a Community Court on a pilot basis in the Dublin city centre area. I envisage an initial project where stakeholders will engage in partnership, in conjunction with the local business community.
A considerable amount of preparatory work needs to be undertaken in collaboration with all stakeholders before the pilot project can be established. It is essential that the project is fully evaluated to ensure that it delivers the required results. Each of the stakeholders involved is operating with limited resources so the preparation and planning stages of the project are essential to ensure that the resources involved are used effectively. It is important that the project would operate in a fully integrated way.
Regrettably, it was not possible to progress the initiative during 2014 due to the need to dedicate resources to other priority projects including the establishment of the new Court of Appeal and also to progress other ongoing projects, such as the judicial appointments review and the reform of the family law courts. However, I can assure the Deputy that the matter is currently under active consideration in my Department and it is my intention that the proposal will be further progressed in the coming months.