Sinn Fein justice spokesperson Martin Kenny TD has welcomed the announcement today of an increase in judges across all court levels. The announcement is expected after Minister for Justice Simon Harris received and considered the Judicial Planning Working Group report over the last number of weeks.
Speaking today, Teachta Kenny said, “The findings of the Judicial Planning Working Group presented to the Minister called for a significant increase in judges over the next 5 years. Most of these new judges will be appointed at district and circuit court level, where waiting times are especially long – particularly for those seeking domestic violence orders.
“Only last week in the Dáil I raised this postcode lottery faced by crime victims when accessing justice directly with the Minister, and have done so with previous Ministers on multiple occasions. Some of those seeking protection from domestic violence through the courts have faced wait times between 4 and 16 weeks – which is entirely unacceptable. As part of our 2023 Alternative Budget we allocated funds to appoint additional judges in anticipation of this report because victims simply cannot and should not have to wait.
“I welcome the report and the timeline set out within it, but I would urge government to act immediately on it. Legislation is needed to increase judicial appointments, and government need to move on this immediately.
“Depending on where they live, victims have not had timely access to justice in the last number of years. This report has given clear targets and timelines to change this, and it’s time for Fine Gael to provide that basic right to crime victims. The courts must be fit for purpose and meet victims’ needs to ensure that they can get justice fairly and without unnecessary delays.”