Creditors will be allowed to apply to the District Court for debts to be recovered by either attachment of earnings or deductions from social welfare payments under the terms of a Bill to be published by the Government recently.
The Minister's statement said the new Bill seeks to implement a number of recommendations of a 2010 Law Reform Commission report and provides access to new district court procedures to deal with certain debts where debtors "won't pay".
The debts covered are above €500 and less than €4,000 in value.
The statement says a creditor will continue to be obliged to obtain a judgment debt order from the district court, which establishes that there is an enforceable debt.
However, the new Bill will add he possibility of getting a district court to enforce the debt by means of either attachment of earnings or deductions from social welfare payments, as appropriate.
Ms Fitzgerald said the new options will be primarily of use to small businesses, tradespeople and the self-employed and utilities like Irish Water trying to recover debts from those who can afford to pay, but won't pay Consumer debts owed to financial institutions or licensed moneylenders and arising from loans are excluded. She said there are also very specific court-based protections for debtors who cannot pay.