The Courts Service has been to the fore in accommodating the need to limit gatherings which might affect the nation's health and response to Covid 19, while respecting regulations and expert advice in dealing with necessary cases.
In liaison with the Judiciary:
We have reduced the numbers of court sittings dramatically, in response to public health threats.
We have used online means of adjourning, accepting, and organising matters for those who need the courts - now.
We have staggered or adjourned sittings.
We have organised urgent access for cases which must go on.
We have organised those who do attend in a safe and social distancing manner.
We have used video conferencing to great effect, in reducing the numbers of defendants travelling from prisons.
We have initiated a trial of remote court hearings to avoid the need to be physically present for court.
We have reduced greatly the numbers in any court at any given time.
Yet we must ensure that amidst all of this, courts remain open to the public - to be seen - and for people to be able to seek to vindicate their rights. The media have been a great resource for all in being the eyes and ears of the public in this regard. We are disappointed and appalled that people chose, or organised, today to attend in large numbers, despite not being required to be there - and thus endangered themselves, Gardai, court staff, and court users to infection.
Everyday the numbers in court are managed before any sitting starts.
At this time of great public peril and threat to national health, we implore the public to be sensible and not gather in numbers in courthouses.
Regulations allow attendance where necessary at court sittings - specifically to fulfil a legal obligation to attend court - as being a permissible reason to travel outside the 2 km current norm.
Safe spaces need to be maintained for those who are summonsed to attend court or who need to work there but the public should be reassured that courts remain open to deal with urgent, emergency, and custody matters.
Access to Justice is being maintained as we proudly fly our national flag beside all court buildings - as hearings are underway.
All persons attending court buildings are alerted of the need to maintain social distancing by public notices throughout court buildings.
We are working daily to ensure access to justice is maintained.