The Tánaiste and Minister for Justice has said she is concerned about the disturbing increases in domestic violence cases coming before the courts.

Frances Fitzgerald was speaking at the launch of the Courts Service Annual Report, which found a 35% rise in applications for safety and protection orders over the past five years.

The figures also revealed an increase in debt settlements and divorce.

The report revealed a massive decrease in new applications for repossessions last year with a reduction of 38% on 2014.

Debt settlements were up by 84%, the number of small claims increased by almost a half and there was a 10% rise in divorce and separation in 2015.

However, Chief Justice Susan Denham said a matter of concern is a 35% increase in the number of applications for safety and protection orders over the past five years with domestic violence cases increasing year on year.

The figures showed an increase of 6% with over 14,000 applications before the district court last year.

Ms Fitzgerald said she was very concerned about the disturbing increases.