High Court judge hits back at TD’s comments and says that Judges are willing to travel
He noted TD Martin Kenny had made a comment in the Dail last week stating that judges are not willing to travel around the country to hear cases
24th October 2022
A High Court judge has hit back at a TD’s comments that judges are not willing to travel to hear cases, describing them as “incorrect” and “ill-informed”.
Mr Justice Paul McDermott was dealing with the trial list at the Central Criminal Court in Dublin today when he made his remarks.
He noted TD Martin Kenny had made a comment in the Dail last week stating that judges are not willing to travel around the country to hear cases in other venues.
Mr Justice McDermott said it was important for the public to realise that judges are willing to travel to any venues that are available.
“This term alone we have venues available to us in Cork, Kilkenny, Monaghan, Tullamore and Waterford,” he told the court. “Later on in the term, there will be trials in Carrick-on-Shannon and Longford. These venues are set out by the Central Criminal Court to ensure maximum use of the resources available so judges can travel to hear these cases.”
It was “incorrect” for anyone to say judges have indicated they are not willing to travel, he added.
“It is ill-informed for anyone to suggest that judges of the Central Criminal Court are in some way reluctant to travel,” he said. “We travel to any venue that is available to us.
“…Judges are very mindful of the extreme stress the cases this court hears can cause for people who are an alleged victim in the case. It’s important that when venues become available they are used. There is no question of any judge in the High Court not willing to travel to hear a trial.”
In relation to Limerick court buildings, which Mr Kenny said is not currently being used, Mr Justice McDermott said it is not currently available due to administrative reasons not connected to the Central Criminal Court. “If it were available, we would be using it,” he said.
Currently, trials involving people who are on bail are being given dates in 2024, while cases involving children or vulnerable people are being given trial dates within six to nine months of them coming before the court, where possible. Custody cases are being given trial dates within one year.
Earlier in the hearing, Mr Justice McDermott said it was “very unfortunate” that an alleged sexual abuse case involving child siblings could not go ahead until May next year because the intermediary involved in the case is unavailable.
An intermediary is appointed in criminal trials in the case of vulnerable parties.
The judge noted the court is forced to rely on an external intermediary service. “My hands are tied,” he said.