Dublin City Council’s Joint Policing Committee is calling for immediate establishment of community courts to deal with low level crime.

The Chairperson of Committee, Cllr Daithí de Róiste, has written to the Justice Minister proposing that the community court model is trialled in the Dublin City Council area with immediate effect.

According to the Ballyfermot Fianna Fáil Councillor, the use of community courts to deal with low level crime would ease the burden on the court and prison systems, ensure much quicker convictions of low level criminals, boost participation in community service and would save the taxpayer a fortune.

“This is a no brainer. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t roll out community courts now on a trial basis in Dublin city. It’s in the interest of communities, the taxpayer, the prison service and the court system. I am urging the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to stop dragging her heels on the issue and to introduce a community court model at least on a trial basis. Dublin City Council is ready to support this and roll it out without delay. We have been in consultation with the David Brennan Dublin City Business Association who has done a lot of work with this, and I want to thank him for his input and support.

“The idea is that it is a local court where minor ‘quality of life’ crimes like graffiti, shop lifting and vandalism are dealt with. It means that low level criminals or people who have made minor mistakes are not thrown into the acute prison service with dangerous criminals and drug addicts. Instead they are dealt with quickly and given sentences of community service so they are forced to give back to the community.

“If this is to work, it must be done right. There can be no watered down version of the model. There is no reason why low level criminals can’t be dealt with quickly in a community setting, sending out a strong message to other potential offenders. And there is no reason why communities should be forced to wait for the clogged up courts system to ensure that justice is done.”