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Croke Park to host criminal trials in first three months of 2021

The iconic sporting venue has been let to the Courts Service to provide courtrooms from mid-January to March.

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Croke Park in Dublin is set to host criminal trials from January to March 2021 (Brian Lawless/PA)

Croke Park in Dublin is set to host criminal trials from January to March 2021 (Brian Lawless/PA)

Croke Park in Dublin is set to host criminal trials from January to March 2021 (Brian Lawless/PA)

Croke Park is set to host criminal trials during the first three months of 2021.

The iconic venue, best known for hosting GAA finals and music gigs, has been let to the Courts Service to provide courtrooms from mid-January.

In a statement, the Courts Service said it has worked with the GAA to provide suitable and safe facilities for those who are required to appear before the courts, legal practitioners, along with judges, staff, the Irish Prison Service and An Garda Siochana.

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In 2018, Croke Park hosted Pope Francis during the Festival of Families event (Brian Lawless/PA)

In 2018, Croke Park hosted Pope Francis during the Festival of Families event (Brian Lawless/PA)

In 2018, Croke Park hosted Pope Francis during the Festival of Families event (Brian Lawless/PA)

The new court facility is planned to provide up to 200 court sitting days from January to March 2021.

It is part of a move to ensure as much court business as possible can continue during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Courts Service said the cost of hiring the venue is 437,000 euro (£395,000).

Angela Denning, chief executive of the Courts Service said, the facilities provide a venue which is “respectful of the importance of the proceedings”.

“We have been challenged across the country to try and facilitate criminal trials, in suitable and safe locations amidst our responsibilities to keep courts operational and staff, the Judiciary, jurors and court users safe,” she said.

“Outside Dublin we have been using 12 venues across the country and feedback from jurors and others has been very positive.

“We will use Croke Park to ensure this track record of safety is continued as we provide access to justice in safe and suitable conditions.

“The facilities provide a venue which is respectful of the importance of the proceedings which will take place there, and which respects the professional needs and the security, privacy and dignity of all court users”.

Croke Park is not unused to great adversarial battles and provides a suitable arena to hold courtsMark Dorman

Mark Dorman, head of stadium business at Croke Park, added: “It is appropriate that this great national venue should be used as a vital support for the democratic functioning of the country, as together we work to recover from the past months of crisis.

“Courts play a vital role in maintaining access to justice and law and order in any country. They give the opportunity for redress for victims as people are held to account for their actions.

“Croke Park is not unused to great adversarial battles and provides a suitable arena to hold courts.

“The GAA welcomes the courts to Croke Park and hope we can build on the relationship that has been established over the years by GAA clubs regularly hosting court sittings, when needed.”

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