Eoghan Murphy
Eoghan Murphy

07.47 26 May 2021


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Nearly €1.6m was paid into court poor boxes around the country last year.

Drug and alcohol treatment centres, St Vincent de Paul, men's shed groups and sports clubs were among the charities to benefit from the payments.

According to Freedom of Information figures released to Newstalk Portlaoise took in the highest amount at €155,000.

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Mullingar came in second at €131,000 with Cork in third at €129,000.

Under the poor box system, a judge can ask a defendant to pay money to charity in order to avoid a conviction for a minor offence.

Solicitor Jason O'Sullivan told Newstalk that the system is still quite widely used around the country.

“It is really a practice that is at the judge’s discursion,” he said.

“If they feel that the accused is unlikely to re-offend, they can implement the practice whereby they can ask them to make a generous donation to a local charity of the judges picking and, in return, they won’t impose a custodial sentence of a Statutory fine.”

He said last year's figures are not surprising.

“The level is probably expected,” he said.

“What it shows is that its use is quite prevalent around the various districts in Ireland.

“however, it is likely the practice will soon be replaced or abolished in its entirety. There is currently a bill published by the Department of Justice to replace it.”


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