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Question

119. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the cost of establishing a pilot specialist court to deal solely with applications for orders under the Domestic Violence Act and to reduce the waiting period to a maximum of two weeks; if she has sufficient spare capacity to establish this within the District Court Family Law Courthouse, Dolphin House, East Essex Street, Dublin 2. [12573/16]

121. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the outcome of a proposal to reorganise District Court business in Dublin and the cost of implementing these proposals. [12575/16]

Answer

Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 119 and 121 together.
The Deputy will be aware that the scheduling of court cases and the allocation of court business is a matter for the respective Presidents of the courts and the presiding judge who are, under the Constitution, independent in the exercise of their judicial functions.
However, in order to be of assistance, I have had inquiries made and have been informed by the Courts Service that, following consultation with the President of the District Court, a re-organisation of the business of the District Court in Dublin has been agreed which will increase the number of courtrooms dedicated to District Court family law in the city centre from five to eight. This initiative has been designed to reduce waiting times across all family law case types, including domestic violence applications. The increased availability of courtrooms in Dolphin House will allow for the prioritisation of applications, including domestic violence applications, and will bring about a reduction in waiting times.
I am informed that, as part of the re-organisation, it is necessary to undertake some changes to the configuration of the courthouse in Chancery Street to provide additional consultation rooms. The plans for this work are currently under consideration and estimated costs are not yet available. It is expected that the work will commence during August 2016 and, subject to satisfactory completion, it is expected that the additional courtroom capacity will be available in Dolphin House during Autumn 2016.