VICTIM support volunteers at the Criminal Courts of Justice in Dublin are to meet on Tuesday to discuss the terms of a controversial new contract before deciding whether or not to reinstate services.
The volunteers, who act as personal liaison and support staff for victims of serious crimes during criminal trials, suspended their services last month after a contentious restructuring.
The stand-off with the board of the Courts Support Service surrounds the withdrawal of a €35 daily expense allowance and the appointment of a manager to oversee operations.
However, volunteers claim that a new contract sent to them last week states they can work for only six hours a week, a time restriction they say will prevent them from offering victims the assistance they need.
Meanwhile, the board says victims and families are being assisted by a limited service while over-capacity can be redirected to other agencies such as the Rape Crisis Network.
It maintains that volunteers were given the opportunity to meet to discuss the stand-off but the parties' differences remain irreconcilable.
"Our concern is that we are only allowed to do approximately six hours but trials go on for weeks and we need to stay with the one family; they don't want someone different," said volunteer Breda Hammond.
"It was working very well and the victims were happy and they are the main priority. If it wasn't broken don't fix it."
She also maintains there is an problem with expenses paid to those working with victims now that the Revenue Commissioners have said it is not possible to provide them with a blanket tax-free daily allowance of €35.
"We could be in there from 10am till maybe 6pm. That was fine but they are saying the Revenue doesn't want that but we are saying surely there is a way around that."