Judges' expense bill increased to €1.8m last year

Judges' expense bill increased to €1.8m last year

One District Court judge last year received €61,058 in expenses that included arrears payments of €36,919.

New figures released by the Courts Service show that Judge Cormac Dunne received the highest expense payments of any judge in 2018.

According to the Courts Service, of the €26,161 paid out in expenses to Judge Dunne between July and December, it included arrears of €16,620 from 2010, 2011 and 2012.

In the first six months of this year, Judge Dunne received €34,897 in expenses and that included €20,299 paid out in expenses arrears for the period 2008 to 2017.

Appointed a judge in 2002, Judge Dunne presides in the district courts in Co Louth and Co Meath which would involve significant travel to courts in the two counties.

Five other District Court judges received expense payments over €35,000 in 2018: Judge Brian O’Shea, €37,777; Judge Paul Kelly, €35,797; Judge Alan Mitchell, €38,255; Judge Seamus Hughes, €37,195; and Judge Gerald Furlong, €46,735.

The expenses claimed by judges are broken down between mileage, subsistence and incidental expenses such as judicial attire.

The Courts Service figures show that for between January and December last, judges received €1.8m in expenses, a marginal increase on the €1.73m paid out in expenses for 2017.

Judges can claim for newly purchased robes and the spend on judicial incidental expenses last year including judicial attire last year totalled €34,773.

In total, 62 District Court judges claimed a total of €1.1m in expenses with Circuit Court judges claiming €565,667. Judges who have no assigned court district or circuit tend to have higher expenses payments due to the mileage travelled each year.

High Court judges claimed €110,379 in expenses with the Court of Appeal judges receiving €13,057.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke
Chief Justice Frank Clarke

Judges on the Supreme Court claimed a total of €5,572 in expenses with Chief Justice Frank Clarke receiving €1,859 in expenses.

The Supreme Court, High Court and Court of Appeal judges receive modest expenses due to them presiding for the most part in Dublin.

The Courts Service state the level of costs recouped by each judge are a direct reflection of the work, numbers of sittings and the locations he or she is required to attend.

The Courts Service point out that for the district court, it sits throughout the year in scores of venues across the country and is the busiest, largest and most geographically dispersed Court in the country.

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