Dáil Éireann - Volume 476 - 12 March, 1997
Written Answers. - Family Mediation Service.
Mr. Flood Mr. Flood
72. Mr. Flood asked the Minister for Equality and Law Reform the nature and extent of the service available in relation to the family mediation service; the numbers directly employed in running the service; the length of the current waiting lists; the numbers on the lists; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7051/97]
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor) Mervyn Taylor
Minister for Equality and Law Reform (Mr. Taylor): The purpose of the Family Mediation Service is to enable couples whose marriages have broken down, to resolve, through mediation, their marital disputes without having to resort to adjudication through the courts. The principle underlying mediation is that couples take responsibility for resolving their own disputes as opposed to decisions being made for them by a third party. The Family Mediation Service offers couples whose marriages have broken down an opportunity to negotiate a separation agreement with the assistance of a neutral trained mediator.
 Such ageements include arrangements for custody of and access to children, property distribution, maintenance etc. The service is provided free of charge.
The Family Mediation Service is staffed by a service co-ordinator, two area co-ordinators, two part-time mediators, and three clerical staff. Procedures have been put in train to recruit additional part-time mediators. The vacancies have been advertised in the media and selection interviews will take place within a few weeks.
The current waiting period in the Dublin office is ten months and there are 174 couples awaiting appointment, while the waiting period in the Limerick office is six to eight weeks and there are five couples awaiting appointment.
Dáil Éireann 476 Written Answers. Family Mediation Service.