The shock figure has been described as ‘a source of concern’ by Mayo Fianna Fáil Deputy Dara Calleary.
The situation is not unique to Mayo as the number of outstanding warrants nationwide is an astonishing 124,209.
The revelation comes only days after Chief Justice Susan Denham hit out that the courts services have taken the lion's share of austerity cuts.
Ms. Denham stated the workload had soared by almost a third despite 38 per cent in savings being achieved in recent years. Staff cuts have resulted in each employee handling 797 cases, a 37 per cent jump from 580.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter informed Deputy Calleary the number of unexecuted warrants had risen from 1,142 in 2000 to 24,635 last year.
The Ballina-based TD questioned the logic of issuing warrants in the first place if they are not being acted upon.
“I intend to pursue this matter over the coming months because serious questions are being raised,” he explained.
It is understood a significant proportion of the outstanding warrants in respect of Mayo relate to offence that occurred during protest at the Corrib Gas site in Bellanaboy. A high number also relate to immigrants who returned to their native countries.
Minister Shatter said while it is clearly important that An Garda Síochána take all possible action to ensure that warrants are executed as quickly as possible, it should be borne in mind that the vast majority of warrants do not relate to violent or the more serious categories of offence
“In fact, most of the warrants which are recorded as unexecuted are penal warrants, which relate to the payment of fines with imprisonment arising as a consequence of failure to pay. A total of 93 per cent of penal warrants are associated with Road Traffic Acts, public order and theft offences.
“Moreover, I have been assured by the Garda Commissioner that his staff give priority to the execution of warrants in respect of serious crime and will continue to do so.
“I have also asked him to report back to me in six months time on the situation in relation to unexecuted warrants. If he has any recommendations in relation to legislative or administrative action open to me which would assist in this area I will, of course, consider them,” he explained.
While welcoming the minister’s assurances, Deputy Calleary said the present situation was not acceptable.