551. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of persons waiting on mediation through the free legal aid system; the length of time they are waiting; the waiting times for same by county, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13744/19]
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 28 February 2019 are set out on an office by office basis, in the table below, the details of which have been provided to me by the Legal Aid Board. These details are maintained by the Legal Aid 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 Legal Aid 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 Legal Aid Board has advised me 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)|