The Courts Service in Ireland is an improvement over previous “arrangements” for the delivery of justice.
Inevitably, it being an infant body, it has and will make mistakes. A relatively small but irritating mistake is the installation of “security” in the Four Courts.
Currently,* access by the public to the Four Courts is through a kind of modular building, at what used to be the Morgan Place entrance on the quays. There, one has to pass through a metal detector and put one’s luggage through a scanner. Harmless enough, but expensive, and ineffective to prevent terrorist Muslim attacks.
What Muslim attacks?
There have been none in Ireland.
Of course, they might be launched. Nobody can say they would not be launched.
However, the history of Ireland is replete with times and periods when very real domestic threats of terrorism existed. Frequently, the Four Courts was the scene of forensic points of conflict between the State and an irregular armed power.
There was, effectively, no permanent “security” in the Four Courts during those times.
In the judgment of this writer, the decision to install the current security arose out of a bomb scare in the building which saw the Supreme Court, as a collective, with every other user of the building, walking about on the pavement outside the building and drinking take-away coffee from the back of an entrepreneurial van parked in a loading bay in Chancery Place.
But the solution, the current “security” is not effective. It does not eliminate bomb threats. It is not a proper source of confidence that any bomb threat is a hoax. (It is too easy to circumvent the “security”).
There is an alternative, chilling, explanation; we are aping the US Supreme court. It, too, has closed the front door of the court and is breaking the architectural integrity of its building.
What if terrorist Muslims really are a threat to the Four Courts?
We should spend our money supporting the programme, of Lord Weidenfeld’s Institure for Strategic Dialogue, for a European Muslim Professionals’ Network. That way, at least, Muslim barristers will find a support group to hand when they encounter the dress code of our Rules Committee of the Superior Courts.
Whatever about dress codes, many people would be glad to see the departure of the “security”, including members of the judiciary and at least one senior barrister who, I understand, refuses to produce his electronic pass to gain access to the courts. (Too much; don’t go there).
*(Note; never “presently”, when you mean “at present”. “Presently” means in a “little while” or “shortly” or “in due course”).