The Irish Times
Divorcing and separating couples in Wexford, Tullamore and Dundalk waited up to 52 weeks, the longest in the country last year, before their ready-to-begin cases were listed before a judge.
Applicants in the three court areas had already waited the statutory period of one year for separation, or four years for divorce, and had been through preliminary court procedures, in preparation for their contested cases, before their 52-week wait.
Not all contested cases given a date for hearing at family law Circuit Courts are reached the first time they are listed, with some adjourned to a later sitting day.
Courts Service data shows people seeking divorce or separation in Mullingar and Letterkenny also had considerable delays of up to 36 weeks before their contested cases were listed before a judge.
Applicants in Cork, Carrick-on-Shannon, Cavan, Ennis, Longford, Portlaoise and Wicklow waited up to 24 weeks. In Dublin, Sligo and Galway the delay was up to three months long, according to the figures.
In other courts, cases were listed for the next sitting day. Depending on when papers were filed and how frequently the Circuit Family Court sat in a given area, applicants could be waiting up to 14 weeks, or longer in summer. For example, in Clonmel and Waterford Circuit Court family sessions are held only four times a year, for one week on each occasion.
A Courts Service spokesman said matters can arise after case progression that affect the ability of the case to go ahead. “This has affected the waiting times in some areas more than others.”