The Courts Service has been warned that any savings it achieves from closing Tipperary and Carrick-on-Suir Courthouses will be cancelled out by the extra costs incurred on other public sector agencies involved in the district courts.
It’s one of the key conclusions of a submission the Tipperary Solicitors Bar Association’s has sent this month to the Courts Service, which is reviewing Co. Tipperary’s courts services.
The TSBA’s submission was prepared with the assistance of Prof. Jim Deegan of the Department of Economics at University of Limerick’s Kemmy School of Business, who carried out a cost benefit analysis of the proposal to close Carrick and Tipperary courthouses.
An Garda Siochana and The Law Society have also urged the Courts Service to retain the two courthouses in their submissions to the controversial review.
The TSBA submission argues that closing the courthouses will merely be an exercise in “cost shifting” with any savings achieved not taking into account the increased staff travel and overtime costs falling on other State agencies, whose public servants work at the courts. These range from gardai, probation officers, social workers to HSE, Tusla and local authority staff.
These public servants would also incur the considerable “opportunity cost” of working time lost due to the court sittings being transferred to Clonmel and Thurles.
The submission also details the increased travel costs and inconvenience the court closures would impose on the general public in Carrick and Tipperary and the adverse economic impact it will have on service businesses and solicitors practices in both towns. It also highlights the damage the closures would cause to the “fabric of the justice system” with the downgrading of the town’s garda stations, a reduction in criminal prosecutions and delays in processing criminal and family law cases among the consequences. The Nationalist will publish a feature on the cutback threats local court services next week.