The planned construction of a criminal courthouse at Anglesea St, Cork, will create up to 170 building jobs.
During a historic first sitting of the Supreme Court outside Dublin yesterday, the chief justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham said: “Cork will be the recipient of a major part of a forthcoming investment in a bundle of seven courthouse developments.
“Anglesea Street courthouse is to be a centre of criminal justice for the city. An investment of many millions will create 170 construction jobs in Cork, and provide a state-of-the-art Court venue, with six courtrooms.”
Presiding at a Supreme Court sitting in Cork, she said: “The criminal business of the city will be heard there, at district and circuit level. The facility will also be available to the Central Criminal Court, when needed. Construction work on this project will begin before the end of the year.
“Washington St will be the centre of all civil and family law where the district, circuit and High Courts will sit,” she said.
Courtroom 1 at the Washington Street Courthouse was packed yesterday with barristers, solicitors, members of the judiciary, court staff, media, and members of the public to witness the first sitting of the Supreme Court in Cork.
Mrs Justice Denham said: “This is the first time the Supreme Court has heard cases outside Dublin; and the first time outside the Four Courts since it was refurbished in 1931.
“In deciding to bring the court to the historic province of Munster, we did so knowing of the great tradition in Cork of law and wisdom, in administering justice in this building and in the Anglesea Street Courthouse.
“As the nation approaches the first centennial anniversary of its creation, it is timely that the Supreme Court sit in locations in the State, in addition to the Four Courts. As a consequence of the recent referendum, we now have a Court of Appeal in Ireland. Also, arising from that referendum, we have a reformed Supreme Court, with a new jurisdiction.
“The new jurisdiction means the major role of the Supreme Court is to focus on cases which interpret and apply the Constitution — a matter of importance to every person in the State.
“Thus, it is part of the role of the Supreme Court to explain the Constitution and the laws. This is done in our judgments, and we will fulfil that role here in Cork today in the cases at hearing.
“In addition, judges of the court will be giving seminars and lectures to students in UCC, a continuing professional development for the Bar, and a continuing professional development for the Southern Law Association.”
As father of the Cork Bar and the Munster Bar, barrister Donal McCarthy said the Supreme Court had yesterday honoured the Munster Circuit and the courthouse at Washington St by sitting there yesterday and the Bar appreciated and was honoured by the arrival of the 10 judges of the Supreme Court.
Dermot Gleeson, senior counsel, referred to some of the great barristers and judges of Irish history who had appeared in the court- house including Daniel O’Connell, Kevin Liston, John A Costello, and Tim Finlay. He thanked Mrs Justice Denham for leading yesterday’s initiative and the Court Service for the way in which it had enthusiastically embraced and facilitated the visit.
Mr Gleeson referred to the very particular interpretation in a Cork pub at the weekend of the 2013 constitutional referendum in relation to the High Court as having as its essential purpose the sitting of the Supreme Court in Cork yesterday. Mr Gleeson said that there was general consensus in the pub that having a constitutional referendum so that the Supreme Court could sit in Cork was indeed “proper order”.
Solicitor Peter Groarke, on behalf of the Southern Law Association, said it was delighted with the arrival of the Supreme Court in Cork and the fact that judges of the court were also addressing the future of the legal profession through UCC lectures.
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