Courts (No. 2) Bill, 1991: Committee and Final Stages.

Sections 1 to 17, inclusive, agreed to.
SECTION 18.
Question proposed: "That section 18 stand part of the Bill."

I would like to thank the Minister for his comments in regard to Senator O'Donovan and myself and I thank Senator O'Donovan also for his very kind remarks. It is most important that the Minister would consider reviewing and increasing the number of judges for the future and the level of staffing also should be urgently examined. I do not want to go over the debate again but it is not good enough to suggest that it may not be necessary to provide any extra staffing. It is quite clear that the Circuit and District Courts will now have a very heavy workload and I think that the Minister, being a reasonable man would agree that the level of staffing will have to be examined.

I welcome his comments regarding the need for back-up services for judges but I think he will appreciate that the situation is very bad at present. Judges are very patient people when one considers that only the Chief Justice and the President of the High Court currently have full-time secretaries. The question of back-up service facilities for judges will have to be examined, especially if we want, as Senator O'Donovan has indicated, judges to travel in circuit and indeed to become High Court judges in Cork, Limerick or elsewhere. I urge the Minister to examine these matters.

I thank Senator Kennedy for his contribution. We are pleased in the Bill to be able to increase the number of the Judiciary and we are keeping this matter under review. We are aware of the large volume of legislation which the Oireachtas is processing and consequent on that is the requirement that courts have an adequate number of judges at all levels to ensure that litigants may have their cases heard speedily.

We are providing the best staffing possible taking into account the resources available and are moving towards computerisation to ensure a more flexible, speedy and efficient transfer of information and refresher opportunities for the Judiciary to refer to previous cases, etc. Of course, as resources become available we will consider the staffing situation.

Question put and agreed to.
Sections 19 to 23, inclusive, agreed to.
Title agreed to.
Bill reported without amendment and received for final consideration.
Question proposed: "That the Bill do now pass."

I would like to thank all Members of the House, the staff of the House and the staff and officials of the Department for their excellent co-operation.

Question put and agreed to.