114. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the steps she will take to make access to emergency barring orders available at times when district courts are not sitting; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [21993/16]
Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy is aware, the Courts Service Act 1998 provides that management of the courts is the responsibility of the Courts Service which is independent in exercising its functions.
However, in order to be of assistance to the Deputy, I have had enquiries made and the Courts Service has informed me that emergency applications such as protection orders and interim barring orders are prioritised. Such applications are usually granted, where the Court so decides, on the date the application is made to the Court. Such applications are normally made when the relevant court office is open and the court is sitting within the relevant District.
Requests received outside of office hours are very rare. However, in every District there is a clerk on-call to take requests for special sittings from An Garda Síochána and there have been a few occasions where An Garda Síochána has made known to the clerk on-call the need for a potential Domestic Violence application. In such situations the clerk of the court will contact the Judge assigned for the District and explain the gravity of the application on the basis of information supplied. It is then a matter for the Judge to decide whether the circumstances as outlined would merit a special court sitting.