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24/09/2021

Concerns voiced over Derry court services being moved to Omagh during maintenance at courthouse

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Concerns have been voiced by Derry politicians following news that there are proposals to move the court services for the city to Omagh while essential maintenance is carried out at Bishop Street courthouse. Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson, MLA Raymond McCartney, has said there are deep concerns over proposals that court business in Derry will be ‘disrupted’ during the summer months. It’s proposed that the Courts and Tribunal service will be located in Omagh adding an additional 70 mile round trip. He said: “I have received a lot of concern from within the legal profession about the implications this move will have. “I am calling on the Courts and Tribunal service to immediately call a halt to this proposed move and to enter into meaningful dialogue with all the key stakeholders.And that the Department of Finance also understand the impact of moving these services to Omagh. “It is totally understandable that the work at Derry Court House has to take place but it should not interfere, disrupt the court service or put additional pressures on those using the service. “As a matter of urgency we need to find a local solution to these proposals to ensure everyone has access to the justice system right across all sectors and in the family courts." Foyle MLA Mark H Durkan of SDLP also voiced disapproval and has asked for a reversal of the decision. He said: He said: "This decision to completely withdraw court hearings from Derry while this work is carried out has caused alarm and anger among legal professionals and rightly so. “Should the closure go ahead it will cause huge disruption and potentially great distress to court users, particularly victims and witnesses and compromising their access to justice. “Furthermore, having to go back and forth to and between Coleraine and Omagh is sure to place a huge pressure on already stretched police resources. “The fact that there was little consultation, if any, before this decision was announced is not acceptable.” “We are calling on NICTS to explore fully, with others, other options that exist that would allow them to retain services in Derry rather than a complete withdrawal from our Council area."

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