29. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the legislation that governs the regulation of bailiffs, or those acting on behalf of a bailiff or the courts. [49717/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy may be aware, Sheriffs (or County Registrars acting as Sheriffs) are responsible to the Court for the enforcement of Court Orders. The law and procedures governing the execution of Court Orders is contained in the Enforcement of Court Orders Acts, 1926 to 1940 and the Rules of Court made thereunder. Sheriffs (or County Registrars acting as Sheriffs) are officers of the Court and are independent in the exercise of their functions and duties under statute and rules of court.
The Enforcement of Court Orders Acts, 1926 to 1940 also govern the role, function and powers of Court Messengers who support Sheriffs (or County Registrars acting as Sheriffs) in the enforcement of Court Orders. Every Court Messenger when assisting in or executing an execution order is furnished with a warrant in writing authorising the Court Messenger to execute or take part in the execution of the execution order.
Enforcement of a Court Order is considered on a case-by-case basis and where additional support is required, for example where the Court has granted an Order for possession, the Sheriff (or County Registrar acting as Sheriff) assesses the risks involved and makes his/her recommendations to the bank or lending institution’s solicitor as to what additional security arrangements are necessary. These additional personnel are sourced, contracted and paid for by the bank or lending institution and the Sheriff (or County Registrar acting as Sheriff) then appoints them as bailiffs. The employment of bailiffs in these circumstances is governed by section 2 of the Enforcement of Law (Occasional Powers) Act, 1924.
As the Deputy will be aware, the removal of individuals from property is not conducted by An Garda Síochána. In relation to recent protests about the removal of individuals from a property I am advised by the Garda authorities that the removal was conducted on behalf of a property’s owner who had obtained an injunction order from the High Court directing people who had been occupying a premises to vacate it. The action was taken by a private firm acting for the owner of the premises on foot of this High Court Order.
A Working Group comprising of officials from my Department, An Garda Siochána, the Courts Service, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Private Security Authority , the Office of the Revenue Commissioners and the County Registrars Association has been convened to examine the administrative, legislative, resources, security and any other matters in relation to in relation to conferring additional functions on the Private Security Authority for the regulation and licensing of security personnel assisting those enforcing court orders. The Working Group is due to report to me by January 2019.