The new €140m criminal courts complex, the largest State building to be constructed since the James Gandon-designed Four Courts in 1796, opens for business tomorrow. The Criminal Courts of Justice (CCJ) complex, on Parkgate Street near the entrance to Dublin’s Phoenix Park, has already been dubbed ‘The Pantheon’ because its great hall is four times the size of the Four Courts’ central Round Hall.
The state-of-the-art building will house the Court of Criminal Appeal, the Special Criminal Court, the Central Criminal Court as well as Circuit and District Criminal Courts. The dedicated facility means that all criminal matters in the capital, up to 250,000 cases a year, will be heard in one venue.
Mr Justice Paul Carney will be the first judge to try a case in the new complex tomorrow morning. The CCJ has 22 hi-tech court rooms, and a dedicated victim-support facility with suites for vulnerable witnesses, victims of crime and their relatives.
It also boasts a playroom with video-link facilities for child witnesses — designed in consultation with children’s charity Barnardos. The 23,000 sq m, 11-storey building has 450 rooms and can accommodate up to 100 prisoners — in a series of underground holding cells.