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Question

111. Deputy Imelda Munster asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the waiting times for an appointment for free legal aid, by county. [8852/18]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am interpreting the Deputy’s question as referring to civil legal aid. The provision of civil legal aid in the State is delivered by the Legal Aid Board pursuant to the Civil Legal Aid Act 1995 and the Civil Legal Aid Regulations 1996 to 2017.
I am conscious that there are significant demands on the Board and that this gives rise to waiting times for certain services at most of the Board’s law centres. However, waiting times have been markedly reduced over the past couple of years due to measures introduced by the Board and the Deputy will be glad to know that the Board’s budget was increased to €40.275m in 2018.
The Board is extremely conscious that delays in service can lead to difficulties not just for the client but also for children, the wider family and the community, as well as the courts system. In this regard, the Board provides a priority service in respect of a number of areas such as domestic violence, child abduction, child care, and asylum and related matters. All other applications are placed on the waiting list.
An application for civil legal aid and advice can be made at any Legal Aid Board law centre, regardless of the county of residence of the applicant. For that reason, statistics in relation to waiting times are maintained by law centre rather than county.
I would advise the Deputy that the details of waiting times in each law centre are published on a monthly basis on the Legal Aid Board website. However, to be of assistance, I have included these figures in my response.
Legal Aid Board waiting times – 31 December 2017

Waiting for 1st consultation Waiting for 2nd Consultation
Law Centre Max Waiting Time (wks) Number Max Waiting Time (wks) Number
Athlone
8
21
17
33
Blanchardstown
8
29
0
0
Castlebar
10
40
0
0
Cavan
9
20
0
0
Clondalkin
25
57
0
0
Cork Popes Quay
20
69
0
0
Cork South Mall
23
82
18
68
Dundalk
16
41
0
0
Ennis
17
49
20
28
Finglas
16
57
0
0
Galway Francis St
22
64
0
0
Galway Seville House
8
17
7
15
Jervis Street
5
20
26
69
Kilkenny
13
35
0
0
Letterkenny
12
51
0
0
Limerick
16
61
0
0
Longford
20
44
15
23
Monaghan
22
52
0
0
Navan
24
81
4
7
Nenagh
18
52
0
0
Newbridge
17
33
0
0
Portlaoise
19
79
0
0
Sligo
9
20
0
0
Smithfield
14
93
0
0
Tallaght
21
56
9
3
Tralee
34
128
0
0
Tullamore
5
10
0
0
Waterford
10
38
0
0
Wexford
26
74
0
0
Wicklow
12
45
0
0


I am informed that some law centres operate a ‘triage’ approach, which involves giving an applicant a short consultation (45 minutes) for legal advice. Those persons remain on the Board’s waiting list if they require further legal services and the wait time for this is indicated by the second column (waiting for 2nd consultation).