The stenographer keeps a verbatim written record (in realtime if needed), of what is said during a trial. They use a machine like a typewriter, which allows him/her to record an account of everything that is said during the trial.
Stenographers in Irish courtrooms are employed by private companies. In many cases, such as criminal, commercial and family law cases, the State pays for the stenographer to be present. In other cases, such as personal injuries cases, it is up to the parties to engage and pay the stenographer to be present.
The main reason why a written account is kept of the proceedings is to assist the parties if they wish to appeal the judge's decision at a later stage. After the trial has ended, the stenographer will transcribe everything that has been recorded into "transcripts", which can be made available to all the parties in the case and the judge.
The transcripts they create are often crucial in analysing the daily progress of a case, and they serve as a basis for appeal. More and more trials and tribunals require instant text translation of a stenographer's notes or an immediate transcript of the evidence. This is now provided by the court stenographer because technological advances in his or her shorthand method and the equipment now makes immediate transcripts of evidence possible.