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41 week wait for cases to be heard at EAT a scandal - Morgan

25 May, 2006


Sinn Féin spokesperson on Employment and Workers Rights Arthur Morgan T.D. has described as scandalous the revelation in reply to a parliamentary question from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment that the average waiting time for a case to heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) is 41 weeks in 2005.  This is 22 weeks longer than in 2002.

Deputy Morgan said, “Having heard anecdotal evidence from those in the trade union movement and working with migrant workers regarding the delays in cases being dealt with, I asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the average time it took for a case to be heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal in each of the past five years.

“The Minister revealed that in 2005 it took 41 weeks for a case to be heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal.  This was 22 weeks longer than in took in both 2001 and 2002.   The waiting times began to escalate from 2003.  

“These waiting periods are totally unacceptable.  It undermines employment law and workers rights.  There is little point making workers aware of their rights if the bodies set up to adjudicate on their claims take almost a year to deal with their case.  This will undoubtedly deter workers from bringing cases and vindicating their rights.

“I am calling on the Minister to investigate the cause of these delays and ensure that the Employment Appeals Tribunal has the staff and resources necessary to deal with all cases that are referred to it in a timely manner.  At a minimum, waiting periods must be brought back to 2001/2002 levels ASAP.” ENDS

Dáil question and answer is attached:

            DAIL QUESTION

                                                                                                          NO. 321                 

To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the time it takes for a case to be heard by the Employment Appeals Tribunal; and the time it took in each of the past five years.

- Arthur Morgan. 

For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 23rd May, 2006.

Ref No:19054/06

R E P L Y

Minister of State at the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment (Mr. Killeen)

The Employment Appeals Tribunal is an independent body under the aegis of the Department.

The average waiting period from the time a case is notified to the Tribunal until it is heard in each of the past five years is:-

Year                            Waiting Period (weeks)

2001                            19

2002                            19

2003                            28

2004                            39

2005                            41

The average waiting period to date this year is 37 weeks.

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