Fianna Fáil candidate and family law solicitor Lorraine Clifford-Lee has called on the Government to set out a clear time-frame for the construction of an essential new Family Law Courthouse in Dublin.

The Dublin Fingal candidate has expressed concern over the lack of detail on the project in the Capital Expenditure Plan.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Capital Expenditure Plan includes only a vague one line reference to building a new Family Law and Children’s Court complex at some stage in the future. There is no further detail on timing, investment, planning or delivery,” Ms Clifford-Lee said.

“This facility is desperately needed. The current courts at Dolphin House are totally inappropriate and are reaching the point of being unusable. Families and children going through extremely distressing legal proceedings are currently being packed into small, run down court facilities with nowhere private to wait or meet their legal representation. It’s particularly difficult given the sensitivity of the cases and the privacy required in proceedings involving children.

“The Court Service Annual Report last year flagged the construction of new family law facilities at Hammond Lane, beside the Four Courts. This project would see of the consolidation of family law and children court business on one new and suitable site. This announcement was over a year ago. And yet, the Capital Expenditure Plan offers absolutely nothing new in terms of information or commitments to the project.

“It is difficult to see this as anything but a vague election promise that lacks any real intention in terms of actual delivery. I am calling on the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and the Minister for Children James Reilly to clarify the plans in relation to this essential new facility. When will the project commence? What is the investment? What stage of planning are we at now? And when will it be delivered?”