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Question

657. Deputy John Paul Phelan asked the Minister for Justice the reason for the delay in the processing of applications submitted by either a solicitor or a private individual for grants of probate and administration particularly in the Probate Office in Kilkenny; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24432/21]

Answer

Minister of State at the Department of Justice (Deputy Hildegarde Naughton): Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service, which is independent in its functions. However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has provided the following update on this matter.
The Courts Service advises that Kilkenny District Probate Registry had a temporary resourcing issue from February of this year, which has now been resolved. Prior to the pandemic, I understand that such issues were resolved by temporarily reassigning resources from other offices to back fill posts. However, travel restrictions and the risk of cross office infection arising from Covid-19 ruled out this option.
I am further advised that the Kilkenny Court Office notified the local Solicitors Associations in Carlow, Kilkenny and Laois of the situation and updated them regularly. The Office continued to deal with searches, issuing of copy wills and email and phone queries on Probate matters during this period.
The Courts Service has informed me that the issue has now been resolved and outstanding applications are being worked through.