135. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to establish community courts. [12647/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My Department has 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 has been considering proposals to enhance our 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 and would build on An Garda Síochána's Adult Cautioning Scheme which 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. Issues such as the format and most appropriate model that would apply to the Irish system are under active consideration in my Department and I hope to be in a position to outline definite proposals in this regard shortly.