Court judges claimed €1.65 million in expenses last year

Highest claim of €52,800 made by District court judge Terence Finn

Court judges claimed a total of €1.65 million in expenses in 2015, new figures show.

The total is down from 2014 by almost €82,000.

Judge Terence Finn, of the District Court, who presides in the south Tipperary/west Waterford area, claimed more than €52, 800, the highest claim by any judge in 2015. It included subsistence of more than €41,000 and €11,650 in travel expenses.

This was lower than the largest individual claim for 2014, of more than €65,392, made by Judge Kevin Kilraine, who presides in Donegal, Sligo and Leitrim.


Other high claims last year, all by District Court judges, included Judge John O’Neill’s, of almost €43,000, Judge Seamus Hughes’, of more than €39,700 and Judge Gerard Furlong’s of almost €39,200. Judge Kilraine also featured in the top five highest claims for 2015, with expenses of more than €38,000.

The lowest claim at the District Court was €660, made by Judge Miriam Malone.

The top claim at Circuit Court level, by a small margin, was made by Judge Donagh Mc Donagh, who presides in Cork. He sought almost €31,000, including more than €10,000 for travel and more than €20,600 for subsistence.

Other top claims at the Circuit Court included almost €30,400 by Judge John Hannan, more than €30,200 by Judge Rory McCabe, almost €28,000 by Judge James O’Donohue and more than €27,000 by Judge Eugene O’Kelly.

The lowest amount claimed was €147 by Judge Alison Lindsay.

The higher courts tend to have smaller expenses due to the limited amount of travel undertaken by judges. However, Judges of the superior courts are entitled to claim a higher rate for travel than their counterparts in the lower courts. And all expenses paid to judges, including mileage, are tax free.

At the High Court, Mr Justice Paul Butler had the largest claim, of €9,220, including €2,700 for travel, more than €4,600 for subsistence and almost €1,800 for incidental expenses, which include judicial attire. Ms Justice Marie Baker claimed more than €7,700, followed by Mr Justice Michael Moriarty, more than €7,300, Mr Justice Michael Hanna, more than €6,500 and Mr Justice Michael White, almost €6,000.

At the Court of Appeal, Mr Justice John Edwards had the largest claim, of more than €4,300. The next highest claim was €922, by Mr Justice Michael Peart, and the lowest was claim was by Mr Justice Peter Kelly, of €254, appointed President of the High Court last December.

The largest claim at the Supreme Court was almost €2,600, made by Mr Justice Frank Clarke. The lowest claim was almost €250, made by Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Susan Denham.

The Courts Service has said the level of costs recouped by each judge is a direct reflection of the work, numbers of sittings and the locations he or she attends.

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland

Fiona Gartland is a crime writer and former Irish Times journalist