798. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Justice the action her Department will take to address the issue of non-engagement by under sheriffs' offices in regard to Circuit Court judgements. [16584/21]
Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): Under the provisions of the Courts Service Act 1998, 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 advised me of the following.
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. They are responsible to the Court for the enforcement of Court Orders. The procedures governing the execution of Court Orders are set out in the Enforcement of Court Orders Acts, 1926 to 1940 and the Rules of Court made thereunder.
I am advised by the Courts Service that the work of Under Sheriffs has been curtailed by the pandemic. Restrictions on non-essential travel impacts on the ability of Under Sheriffs to operate normally, as much of the work of these offices involves site visits and meetings with clients. Such journeys would pose an increased health and safety risk to Under Sheriffs, their staff, and parties involved in court proceedings. Under Sheriffs continue to monitor work within their offices and to respond to urgent, essential matters. The Courts Service further advise that the situation is being kept under active review, in line with public health guidelines, with a view to returning to normal business as soon as it is safe to do so .