Local Courts – Immediate Access – Family law

The District Court is a Court of local and limited jurisdiction but is the work of this Court that the general public hear about most often – have you heard Paddy O’Gorman on the Today with Sean O’Rourke RTE radio show?

The District Court is usually held once or perhaps twice a month in a local town and deals with a variety of cases. From a Family Law point of view it is often the Court of first contact for parties when their relationships have broken down, and they require immediate protection from the Courts. Orders under the Domestic Violence Legislation or Maintenance and Access to children are the types of situations that are dealt with by the District Court on a day to day basis.

In this blog, I set out the types of family law applications that can be made in the District Court and the range of Orders that can be made by the Court.

One of the most common applications to the District Court is for a Protection order – when a party is in fear of, their partner or the other parent of their child and the protection of the Court is required. A Protection order enables a party who feels that their health and safety is at risk, and they are in fear of the other person to apply to the Court in an ex-parte application ( without notice to the other side) and after giving information to the Judge under Oath – why they should be given the protection of the Court. If the Court accepts their evidence then the party can get a Protection Order which prohibits the other person from using violence, threatening violence, molesting or putting the victim/partner/spouse in fear. This is a temporary Order and only lasts until the hearing of the main Court case where the party against whom it is sought has the right to put their case forward.

The long term applications that can be sought in the District Court are a Barring Order for a period of up to three years and a Safety Order for a period of up to five years.

The other most common order in the District Court relates to Maintenance – this is where a parent / spouse / partner can apply to the Court and seek a regular payment from the other parent / spouse or partner. The District Court only has the power to Order payments to a maximum of €150.00 per week per child and €500.00 per week in respect of a spouse. If you are seeking a payment above this, an application needs to be made to the Circuit Court. It is also possible as part of the Court Order to have your maintenance paid through the District Court Clerk’s office. If the maintenance is not paid, then it is open to the Maintenance Creditor to again apply to the Court for a variety of reliefs.

The District Court is a Court of first jurisdiction and the work of the District Court especially in family law matters is of most importance to the general public.

Donal T.Ryan Solicitors LLP Cashel and Cahir, represent clients in all Courts. Aidan Leahy and Máire McMahon are experienced District Court practitioners in all aspects of Court work. Contact us at 062 61288 or 052 7441244 or www.dtryan.ie

Garda Vetting – All you need to know if you work or volunteer with children or vulnerable adults


This post is relevant for those who are involved in organisations that work with children or any person whose work or activity involves access to children or indeed vulnerable adults.

On the 29th of April 2016 the National Vetting Bureau (Children and Vulnerable Persons) Acts 2012-2016 came into effect.

These Acts make it mandatory for people working with children or vulnerable adults to be vetted by the Garda Siochana National Vetting Bureau.

This bureau deals with requests to provide information on certain prospective employees or other workers and carries out vetting for relevant organisations that are registered with it. Vetting is not done for individuals on a personal basis.

Under the Acts, any person whose work or activity involves access to children or vulnerable adults must be vetted. This includes staff, volunteers and those on student placements working for a relevant organisation through which they have unsupervised access to children and/or vulnerable adults.

A “relevant organisation” is defined in Section 2 of the Acts as one that employs or permits a person to carry our work or activities which mainly consist of them having access to, or contact with, children or vulnerable adults.

The work or activities where people working with children and vulnerable adults will require vetting will include:-

1. Child Care Services.
2. Schools.
3. Hospitals and Health Services.
4. Residential Services or accommodation for children or vulnerable persons.
5. Treatment, Therapy or Counselling Services for children or vulnerable persons.
6. Provision of Leisure, Sporting or Physical Activities to children or vulnerable persons.
7. Promotion of Religious Beliefs.
8. Under the Private Securities Service Act 2004 Garda Vetting has been extended to Private Security Employees (for example, bouncers and night club security staff).


Section 20 of the Acts provides for the re-vetting of employees and other workers after a certain period of time which is to be set out in regulations. Until then, good practice suggests that re-vetting should be carried out every five years.

An organisation that requires Garda Vetting of individuals must register with the National Vetting Bureau. The organisation must appoint a liaison person to apply for and receive vetting disclosures. There is further information on the National Vetting Bureau website.

Under the Acts there are penalties attached for people who employ or enter a contract of service or allow a person to undertake relevant work on behalf of the organisation unless the organisation receives a vetting disclosure from the Bureau in respect of that person. Similarly those who fail to comply in terms of re-vetting also commit an offence as shall those who falsify or alter a vetting disclosure or make a false statement for the purposes of obtaining, or enabling other persons to obtain, a vetting disclosure or allows a vetting disclosure which relates to him or her to be used by another person in such way as to give rise to the reason to belief that records related to another person.