Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if her attention has been drawn to Circuit Court proceedings that have been postponed and delayed around the country due to the appointment of persons to the new Court of Appeal and vacancies arising in the Circuit Court as a result of this; when she expects replacement appointments to be made in the Circuit Court so that Circuit Court sittings can proceed as normal; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
REPLY (Nov 18, 2014)
Minister Frances Fitzgerald:
The scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business is a matter for the Presidents of the courts and the presiding judge who are under the Constitution independent in the exercise of their judicial functions. There are currently seven vacancies on the Circuit Court arising from a retirement on 30 September 2014; the elevation of one judge to the Court of Appeal on 29 October 2014 and the elevation of five judges to the High Court on 30 October 2014. The Government is, of course, cognisant of the need to ensure that the establishment of the Court of Appeal does not adversely affect the business of the other court jurisdictions. As the Deputy will note, the vacancies in the Circuit Court have only recently arisen and it is my intention to request that the Government make the nominations shortly with a view to the appointments being made by the President in the coming weeks.