Written Answers. - Courts Service.

John McGuinness

Question:

908 Mr. McGuinness asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if there is a need to increase the secretarial staff in the court probate office of Kilkenny Court House, Parliament Street, Kilkenny, in view of the long delays being experienced by those who have to use the service; his views on future plans for this service; if he will confirm that the probate service is not being moved from Kilkenny city; his views on the case of a person (details supplied) in County Kilkenny who applied to the office for probate after the death of his brother (details supplied) and experienced considerable delay; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19925/00]

As the Deputy will be aware, the Courts Service was established by me on 9 November 1999. Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act, 1998, the Courts Service is independent in the exercise of its functions as defined in the Act, which includes the management of the courts. Consequently I no longer have any function in relation to the deployment of courts staff. I have, however, brought the Deputy's concerns in this matter to the attention of the chief executive officer of the Courts Service.

The appointment of places to be District Probate Registries is a matter for me as Minister by virtue of section 129 of the Succession Act, 1965 (No. 27 of 1965). I have no plans for any changes in this regard at the moment.

Individual grants of probate are a matter for the High Court. Consequently it would be inappropriate for me, as Minister, to comment on any individual case.