31. Deputy Pearse Doherty asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if a tribunal is currently in place to consider individual applications in relation to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal; the last date on which the tribunal formally convened; if a dedicated tribunal is not currently in place, the reason; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10806/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I can inform the Deputy that the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal comprises a Chairperson and six ordinary members. The seven members of the Tribunal do not formally convene as a group to carry out the work of the Tribunal. Individual applications at first instance are considered by a single member of the Tribunal. Consequently, in this regard, the Chairperson can consider individual applications at first instance.
There are currently six ordinary member vacancies, due to the term of office of the previous members having expired on 30 April 2016. To address this situation, I recently sought expressions of interest from suitably-qualified persons who wish to be considered for appointment as members of the Tribunal. I am currently considering these applications and expect to be in a position to make appointments in the coming weeks.
With regard to appeal hearings I wish to inform the Deputy that the Tribunal last held appeal hearings on 5 and 6 April, 2016. Further appeal hearings will be scheduled as new members are appointed. Tribunal members, who are practising barristers and practising solicitors in the Courts system, provide their services on a part-time basis to the Tribunal. Appeal hearings are conducted by three Tribunal members. The member who gave the initial decision will not be one of the Tribunal members present at the appeal hearing. Dates for appeal hearings are set on the basis of availability of Tribunal members, appellants and/or their legal representatives.