Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Taoiseach to directly ensure that constitutional protections around free access to the Courts by members of the public are secured and guaranteed. Deputy McGrath made his comments after the morning sitting of Castlebar Court was suspended while it was in the process of hearing pleas around repossession and eviction orders:
“What happened this morning in Castlebar is an affront to the basic and fundamental right of access to the courts by members of the public.
The fact that the Court Registrar then moved the suspended proceedings into another vacant court room where access was granted only after each individual was scrutinised by the Gardaí borders on the reprehensible.
This is a continuation of the policy that I highlighted last October where people enduring the trauma of repossessions and evictions were denied the free and unhindered assistance of people who turn up to support them in their fight to retain the family home.
Last year the Minister for Justice told me that where there were “credible threats to the organisation of courts” and “major security threats” in the administration of justice, such actions were permitted.
Now I ask you, does the saying of the Rosary and peaceful objections to the legality of the proceedings constitute this kind of threat?
It is deeply disturbing that we seem to be casting the ‘security net’ ever wider and wider to encompass any kind of resistance to these eviction orders.
I am calling on the Taoiseach, not only as the head of Government, but also as the TD for that area to immediately assure us that when it comes to these kinds of sittings, access to the Courts will not become the exclusive preserve of the banks legal teams,” concluded Deputy McGrath.