Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny and Chairman of the Oireachtas Finance Committee John McGuinness has introduced a new Bill into the Dáil with the aim of providing greater transparency for those who are reliant on Wards of Court.

Wards of Court are appointed by the High Court to manage a person’s financial affairs when it has been deemed by the court that they are unable to manage their own affairs. The principal purpose of wardship is to protect the property of the ward and to manage it for his / her best interest.

‘The Courts Fund Administration Bill 2017’ aims to increase the level of transparency surrounding the administration and operation of funds managed by Wards of Court.

Deputy McGuinness said, “Wards of Court play an important role in helping protect citizens who are unable to manage their own financial affairs. The Office of Wards of Court supervises the activities of the persons who are given the responsibility for the day to day management of a ward’s affairs.

“Concerns have been raised on many occasions about the level of transparency surrounding the funds managed by Wards of Court. Families have expressed dissatisfaction regarding their ability to access information surrounding the funds administered by wards on behalf of a loved one. The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General has been unable to examine the performance and operation of these funds under the control of the Courts.

“The Bill I have introduced into the Dáil will achieve greater transparency as it addresses the inability of the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General to be able to properly investigate and scrutinise the way in which these funds are being managed. This will help address the concerns that families have regarding their current inability to get accurate information in relation to the operation of funds managed by a Ward of Court on behalf of a loved one.

“The Bill has secured the support of the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party and I hope to see it progressed in the coming weeks. It is a sensible Bill and I am working to secure cross-party support in the Dáil,” concluded Deputy McGuinness.