Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Pa Daly TD, has warned that reforms to legal aid must not result in further delays in the justice system.
Speaking today, Teachta Daly said:
“Reforms to the legal aid system are long overdue. The system must be available for those who need it, to ensure that fair access to justice is available to all regardless of their financial situation.
“Legal aid must not be subject to abuse and I welcome that repercussions will be in place for those who provide misleading information or refuse to supply appropriate information when seeking legal aid.
“However, these changes must not result in even more delays to the justice system. Excessive delays are already an all too common feature of our justice system. Fine Gael have failed to invest in the courts over the decade that they have held responsibility for the Justice Department; resulting in many cases taking several years to come to trial and for these trials to be completed.
“This fails victims and undermines justice, by adding to further distress while criminals evade prosecution. There is a postcode lottery in place, with regions across the state varying hugely in the delays victims face.
“I have been urging the Minister to address these serious issues for some time now, which must involve the appointment of enough judges and sufficient resources for the courts.
“These reforms to legal aid cannot result in even more paperwork, red tape and delays on top of already scandalous wait times for victims.
“Government must act to ensure that the justice system has the resources, funding and planning in place to deliver fair and swift justice.”