The decision from the President of the High Court to allow circuit court appeal hearings to be heard at Letterkenny courthouse in future has been welcomed.
The decision comes following a request from the Donegal TD to the Courts Service in which he urged the organisation to do more to facilitate litigants resident in the county by having cases heard at local courts instead of the long-standing practice of hearings being held at courts in Sligo and Mayo.
Describing the decision as a ‘victory for common sense’, Pearse Doherty said: “At present, it’s my understanding that it’s been the long-standing practice of the Courts Service to have all civil appeal cases heard at courts in either Sligo or Castlebar.
“This has meant that, even in instances where a case has originated in Donegal, no subsequent appeal hearings were held locally.
“As a result, I have received correspondence from constituents expressing their frustration at the inconvenience, as well as the financial burden, which having to travel to attend these hearings is causing them.
“Many of those have spoken about not being able to see any justifiable reason for the practice, and have understandably pointed to the fact that the Courthouse in Letterkenny, which has just recently been opened after a major redeveloped, could play host to such cases.
“Having listened to their legitimate concerns, I wrote to the Courts Service to ascertain why all Circuit Court Appeal cases relating to litigants in Donegal were continuing to be transferred outside of the county.
“I am happy to now report that I have received a response from the organisation in which it’s been confirmed that, after some consultation between the Courts Service and the President of the High Court, it’s been agreed that they are in favour of having Circuit Court Appeals heard at Letterkenny.
“Furthermore, and following on from my request, the Principal Registrar in the High Court is currently making the relevant arrangements with Courts Service Regional authorities and local management in Letterkenny for a sitting of the High Court to be held in Letterkenny during this July.
“I’ve been advised that, once these arrangements are finalised, all courts staff will inform practitioners of the dates in question.
“I am happy that this decision has been reached, it is a victory for common sense, and I genuinely hope that this development will result in litigants and other relevant stakeholders being able to enjoy easier access when attending hearings.”