The People’s Courts

In 2012, a team of volunteers from Claremorris Community Radio produced an hour-long documentary about the Dáil Courts, which were in effect during Ireland’s revolutionary period. This is now available on CD with an accompanying book.

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From the foreword:

“This programme illuminates a movement at the beginning of the Irish State in the early 1920s which sought to establish a native justice system notwithstanding the fact that the British legal system was still in place.

The first Dáil (Irish parliament) was established in 1919. Although it had seats for 69 deputies, 41 of these were absent – imprisoned or in flight.  In the years leading up to 1922, certain people felt that having a native justice system was integral to independence and sovereignty. The idea of attempting to take over the administration of justice from the British courts was first mooted in 1919.

On 29 June 1920, the Dáil passed a decree providing for the establishment of civil and criminal courts throughout the country that would be competent to hear every type of case. County Mayo was the first to organise a system of tribunals to deal with civil disputes.”


  • Adrian Hardiman (Supreme Court judge)
  • Ronan Keane (Chief Justice of Ireland, 2000-2004)
  • Mary Kotsonouris (District Court judge, ret.)
  • Thomas Waldron (Local historian)
  • Dominic Price (Author of The Flame and the Candle)
  • Peter Maguire (Ret. senior council)