149. Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of cases currently on hand by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal; the number dealt with in 2017; his plans to ensure that all are dealt with in a reasonable timeframe in the future; the number of meetings of the tribunal that occurred in 2017; the number planned for 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6493/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal administers the Scheme of Compensation for Personal Injuries Criminally Inflicted (General Scheme). Under the terms of the Scheme, the Tribunal is entirely independent in the matter of individual decisions on applications for compensation.
Between 2012 and 2017, a total of 1,284 applications were received, and the number of cases in which payments were made was 587, totalling €31.719m. Owing to the manner in which cases are recorded, and in particular cases opened but not actively pursued by the applicants, a composite figure for the number of cases actually requiring further deliberation is not readily available. I have asked that this be examined with a view to clarifying the position into the future.
In so far as the effective operation of the scheme is concerned, I have ensured that a full Tribunal membership has been maintained in order to continue to address claims as promptly as possible within the funds available. However, it should be noted that while applications are processed with the minimum of formality compared to court proceedings where compensation is being claimed under the Civil Liability Acts, in making their decisions Tribunal Members must be satisfied that all supporting documentation submitted is in order. In some cases there can be delays pending the availability of all required documentation and some cases are complex in terms of the medical conditions to be assessed. Applicants also have the option of appealing the decision in their case, and no time limits apply to the bringing of an appeal.
I can also advise the Deputy that in view of the length of time since the scheme has been reviewed, my Department is exploring how a new review might best be carried out.