128. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of providing free legal aid and free civil aid over the past seven years; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10342/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I wish to inform the Deputy that the provision of legal aid falls within two separate categories, that is, civil legal aid and criminal legal aid. Details in respect of each category are outlined below.
Civil Legal Aid
The Legal Aid Board, established under the Civil Legal Aid Act, 1995 provides civil legal aid and advice to persons of limited means, who cannot afford to pay a solicitor privately. The Legal Aid Board operates 30 full time law centres and a number of part time law centres in Ireland.
The majority of the Board's income consists of a grant received from the Department of Justice and Equality. Funding provided by my Department for the last seven years is provided in the table.
Criminal Legal Aid
The Criminal Justice (Legal Aid) Act 1962 provides that free legal aid may be granted in certain circumstances for the defence of persons of insufficient means in criminal proceedings. Under the 1962 Act, the courts, through the judiciary, are responsible for the granting of legal aid. I have no function in such determinations.