PODCAST: Harristown Courthouse makes history as video-link installed for hearings

History has been made at Harristown courthouse in Roscommon today with the first-ever video link remand hearing.

Judge Alan Mitchell presided over the historic sitting of the court adjacent to Castlerea Prison which saw inmates present before the court via video-cameras for the very first time.

Previously, all prisoners who were on remand or seeking bail at Harristown had to be physically brought to the courtroom from the jail, or prisoners may also have to be transported from other more distant prisons to Harristown.

The move was made in an effort to reduce the risk of spreading Covid 19 to staff and prisoners and is also seen as reducing costs to the Courts Service.

Video-link systems are already in place in other courts such as Sligo and Galway.

Earlier today The Prison Service confirmed that none of the nearly 4,000 prisoners in jail in Ireland has tested positive for Covid-19.

Brendan McDonald, the regional manager for courts in the western region, said that while plans were always in place to develop video links – Covid-19 speeded up the process.

He has praised courts staff locally as well as local solicitors for their help in bringing in the system as he spoke to Kevin McGillicuddy: