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Question

135. Deputy Brendan Smith asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the position regarding a proposal to provide Family Law Court facilities (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [18905/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy is aware, the Programme for Government commits the Government to significant reform of the courts, including the establishment of a separate family law court structure that is streamlined, more efficient, and less costly. Following consultations, my Department is preparing draft legislation in the matter and I intend to bring the relevant proposals to Government for its approval as soon as they are finalised. The draft General Scheme of the Bill will then be subject to the usual pre-legislative scrutiny by the Justice Committee.
With regard to the provision of a family law court in Cootehill, County Cavan the position is that under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, management of the courts, including the provision of accommodation for court sittings, is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions. The Courts Service has informed me that decisions relating to venues for the family court will not be decided until a later stage taking account, inter alia, of the suitability of available facilities for family law proceedings.