138. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons waiting on mediation through the free legal aid system to date by county in tabular form; the length of time they are waiting; the waiting times for same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11090/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Mediation is a process for resolving disputes where those in dispute meet with a third party who helps them to negotiate an agreed resolution. The Family Mediation Service is provided by the Legal Aid Board.
The waiting times for family mediation services as of the 28th February 2019 are set out on an office basis in the following table which has been provided to me by the Legal Aid Board. The detail is maintained by the Board in terms of numbers waiting and the waiting times involved on an office by office basis rather than by County.
I am also informed by the Board that short notice appointments will be provided to those who can take a cancelled appointment at the last minute. Those clients who have a pending Court date are accommodated, if possible, with priority appointments.
The Board has advised that the number waiting for mediation may include some clients who have already been offered appointments and have not been able to accept them for one reason or another.
|-||-||Number Waiting at end February||Approx Waiting times (weeks)|