17 November 2022

The Director of Public Prosecutions, Ms. Catherine Pierse, has today launched her Office’s Annual Report 2021, detailing the diverse range and volume of work carried out across the Office during the year.

In her Foreword of the Annual Report 2021, the Director notes:

“This is my first Annual Report since my appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions in November 2021.  I am honoured to be entrusted with this important position and very conscious of the responsibility that it involves.  I am committed to delivering a prosecution service that has the trust and confidence of the people of Ireland by ensuring continued high standards, impartiality and independence.”

With regard to the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on victims, witnesses and accused persons, she adds:

“This has been a challenging time for the Irish criminal justice system as it continues to grapple with the back-logs that developed during the pandemic. I am acutely conscious that delays associated with those backlogs are having a significant impact on victims, witnesses and accused persons who are awaiting trials, or where trials have to be adjourned.  Efforts to address backlogs in the Criminal Courts are ongoing.  For example, the assignment of additional judges to the Central Criminal Court in 2021 greatly assisted in alleviating delays for rape and murder prosecutions.  My Office is committed to collaborating with our colleagues in the Courts and across the criminal justice system to ensure that the system operates in a way that gives more certainty for service users within a reasonable timeframe.”

In relation to the ongoing increase in files received by the Office, the Director states:

“…the last few years have seen an unprecedented growth in the number of files being referred to our Office, with a 23% increase in the total files received in the three years up to this reporting period.  This situation continued during 2021 with a 7% increase on the previous year.  We have also seen increased complexity in many cases arising from the growing volume of digital material and the number of international cross-border issues involved … The number of domestic violence cases being submitted to our Office also continued to grow during 2021 with a 36% increase in such cases being submitted for direction.  We also expanded our service in the prosecution of domestic violence cases before the District Courts in Dublin.”

Regarding the increased demands on the Office the Director goes on to note that:

“…it was clear towards the end of 2021 that additional investment in the Irish prosecution service was necessary so that we could continue to provide the best service possible and to the same high level of professionalism.  In this regard, I am very pleased that we have been successful in obtaining a significant increase in our budget for 2023, and we will be recruiting additional staff to deal with the increased volume and complexity of work.  These additional resources will also enable us to better implement our strategic goals over the coming years, as outlined in our Strategy Statement 2022-2024.”

The full Annual Report 2021 for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is now available here on this website.

Any queries should be emailed to: media.liaison@dppireland.ie.