The public restaurant and bar in the Four Courts is due to close on July 31st and be replaced with consultation rooms. This is a disturbing development. The public who attend at the Four Courts are generally litigants or would-be litigants with their much-needed support from family and friends or witnesses.
Their experiences may be stressful and sometimes deeply upsetting. Their day may be long and involve anxiously waiting around or being in court.
It is reasonable that they should expect there to be somewhere that they may go within the building for a short break or for lunch, especially on occasions when time may be limited.
Come July 31st, those members of the public will have no alternative but to join what will be an extremely long queue at the tiny Friary Café, that seats about 20 people, or else leave the complex altogether to find refreshment nearby (time permitting).
I cannot think of any other public service building that requires people to attend all day that does not provide some form of restaurant or café-style facilities for their welfare.
With respect to the views of the OPW, we should prioritise the welfare of the public over the provision of consultation rooms.
Marie O’Shea, BL