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Cabinet Approval to Bring Forward Emergency Legislation for Garda Court Presenters

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has received government approval to bring forward emergency legislation to provide for a continued legal basis for Garda Court Presenters in the District Court.

Court Presenters are members of An Garda Síochána who specialise in court work in the District Court, prosecuting cases on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions. They deal with important procedural matters including evidence of arrest, charge and caution in first appearances in court, remands, bail applications and presenting a summary of evidence in guilty pleas.

The legislation will address a recent High Court ruling on the use of Court Presenters, for which a stay has been granted until the final orders are made on 16 June. The legislation will clearly establish a right for any member of An Garda Síochána to conduct a prosecution, whether or not that member initiated the prosecution.

Minister McEntee said, “the system of Garda court presenters is a well-established one, enabling more efficient use of police resources by reducing the need for individual Gardaí to attend court to prosecute every criminal offence they detect.”

“If remedial legislation is not put in place to allow for the continued use of Court Presenters, it is expected there would be significant disruption to the operation of the District Courts throughout the country and significant costs involved in putting in place alternative arrangements. I hope that the Bill can pass through all stages in the Oireachtas by 16 June.”

The issue needs to be addressed by legislative amendment as a matter of urgency to avoid serious disruption to the District Courts throughout the country and the costs of putting in place alternative arrangements, which would increase for each day the legislation is not enacted following the taking effect of the judgment.

The Minister will publish the Bill as soon as possible.

Owing to the urgency of the matter, and the serious operational and cost implications that will arise if the judgment becomes operative, the Minister considers it necessary to seek a waiver of pre-legislative scrutiny from the Justice Committee and to also seek a motion for early signature of the Bill by the President following the passing of the Bill by the Houses of the Oireachtas.


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