Dáil Éireann - Volume 597 - 16 February, 2005

Written Answers. - Legal Aid Service.

  224. Ms Enright asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he intends to sanction more staff to the Legal Aid Board to eliminate the waiting list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5240/05]

  Mr. McDowell: I can inform the Deputy that I have no request from the Legal Aid Board for additional staff. I can further inform the Deputy that the funding for the Legal Aid Board has been increased from €18.388 million in 2004 to €21.362 million in 2005, an increase of 16%. The board has informed me that the funding allocated will enable them to employ their full complement of solicitors and support staff and to provide cover for staff absences during the year.

The board has also informed me that the funding allocated has allowed the District Court private practitioners scheme to be expanded in November 2004 to enable the board to provide a service to a greater number of persons. In addition, the board is developing proposals for the use of solicitors in private practice in certain family law cases in the Circuit Court. The board hopes to introduce this scheme in the summer. The board considers that the net effect of these measures will mean that the board can continue to provide a priority service and also move to a position during 2005 to provide a timely service to all other applicants.