Thursday 27 June 2019

State payments to victims of crime set to soar as additional €2.4m allocated to compensation scheme

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Gordon Deegan

The amount paid out in compensation payments by the State to victims of crime is set to soar this year due to a number of large awards from a State scheme in 2018.

This follows the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan confirming that he has set aside an additional €2.24m for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal this year.

In a written Dáil reply to Sean Fleming (FF), Minister Flanagan stated that the €2.4m will bring to €6.4m available to the Compensation Tribunal this year.

Minister Flanagan stated that he has approved the additional €2.4m “in view of a number of large awards from the general scheme in the current year”.

The €6.4m at the disposal to the tribunal this year follows the tribunal last year paying out €3.97m to 117 claimants - the highest amount paid out was €954,000.

The €3.97m paid out last year follows €3.76m paid out in 2016; €4m paid out in 2016 and €3.95m paid out in 2015.

The highest individual payment made in recent years was a payout of €1.85m made in 2014.

The number of applications received last year was 181 and this represented a decline of 14pc on the 210 applications received in 2016.

In recent years, the Dept of Justice has set aside an annual budget of €4m for the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal with the exception being 2013 when €11.3m was allocated to the tribunal to deal with a backlog of payments.

Minister Flanagan stated: “The amount paid out in any given year is not reflective of the applications received in that year, for various reasons, including that compensation payments may relate to applications made in prior years.”

The Minister also stated that it is not possible at this time to state the number of cases awaiting decision and those which are deemed to be open.

He said:  “I have, however, requested an assessment of the caseload of the Tribunal and have asked my officials to examine this assessment and seek the views of the Criminal Injuries Tribunal in this regard.”

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