Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin Mid-West, John Curran has said the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal is failing to process claims or provide assistance to victims in an efficient manner.
The Deputy received a response this week through Parliamentary Question which reveals that of the 181 applications received in 2017 just 31 cases were settled and there are therefore 150 applications yet to be dealt with.
Deputy Curran said, “Despite the fact that the number of cases which settle in a pay-out is declining year on year, there are lengthy delays in the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal assisting victims of crime in Ireland.
“As it stands, should this year’s applications be managed in the very same poor manner it’s likely that just 24 cases will be settled in 2018.
“Victims should expect that they will receive their compensation in a prompt manner and in accordance with constitutional justice. In correspondence I received, the Tribunal itself cited its limited resources and “economic constraints” as contributing factors in the slow process of claims and victims obtaining their due compensation.
“The Tribunal receives roughly €4 million in budget each year, but it is uncertain how this budget is set considering the number of, and types of cases varies year on year.
“For instance, one case could need to pay-out €1 million or more when it reaches settlement, especially a victim which has suffered a life-altering injury. That means that one substantial case settlement can absorb a quarter of the Tribunal’s funding.
“These more complex applications, although exceptionally important to settle tend to get put off as a result and until a time that the payment can be met under a yearly budget. That could be half a decade and this is a severely dysfunctional way to operate.
He concluded, “A thorough review of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal must be carried out before next year’s figure of unsettled claims rises even more. This review could not come quick enough for very many victims of crime or their families.”