Scores of people crowded into the cramped confines of Portlaoise Courthouse again on Tuesday, with others opting to wait outside the building in the face of Covid-19 restrictions to contain the spread of the virus.
The Leinster Express observed members of the public and the legal profession in consultations ahead of the family law court hearings getting underway on Tuesday, July 21.
Some of those who attended were wearing masks as they waited while others did not.
Some people were standing in groups in the small foyer and corridors, while there were also meetings in stairways.
The Leinster Express did not take pictures out of respect for the confidentiality of those involved in family proceedings but we contacted the court service for comment.
A spokesperson said new guidance has been issued about wearing masks on Tuesday by the judges. The spokesperson said many steps have been taken by courts to avoid crowded courts or people having to attend court.
The Court Service added that detailed plans to prevent the spread of Covid-19 had been prepared for every courthouse.
The spokesperson added that consultations between clients and solicitors need not take place in courthouses. He added that some Bar Associations around Ireland have rented premises to allow for consultations away from courthouses that allow for social distancing consultation to take place.
The spokesperson did not rule out the suggestion that the courthouse could be locked to the public on court sitting days until the Judge was ready to hear cases that day.
The spokesperson added that a site has been purchased in Portlaoise for a new court and it is part of a bundle of five courts to be built through a public-private partnership approach.
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