Judges claim €1.09 million in expenses in first half of year
One District Court judge claimed almost €35,000 for expenses incurred since 2008
One district court judge was busy going back over his receipts for the past decade in the first half of this year to enable him receive more than €1,000 a week on average in expense payments in 2018.
New figures released by the Courts Service show that Judge Cormac Dunne received the highest expense payments of any judge to date in 2018 when receiving a total of €34,897 - or an average of €1,089 per week - between January and June of this year.
However, the Courts Service point out that of the €34,897 total, €20,299 was paid out in expenses arrears to Judge Dunne for the period 2008 -2017.
The Courts Service points out that €14,598 was paid in expenses to Judge Dunne for expenses claimed between January and June the year which would place Judge Dunne just over the mid-range of district court judges’s expense table.
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.
Only one other district court judge received in excess of €30,000 in expenses between January and June and this was Judge James Faughnan who received €31,871.
Seven other district court judges received expense payments over €20,000 - Judge Conall Gibbons - €24,246, Judge Brian O’Shea- €23,936; Judge Paul Kelly - €21,967, Judge Alan Mitchell - €21,710; Judge Seamus Hughes - €20,919, Judge Gerald Furlong - €21,265; Judge John Cheatle - €21,425.
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 June of this year, judges claimed and received €1.088 million in expenses - a 15 per cent increase on the €941,922 claimed for the corresponding period last year.
The increase arises from the Government appointing new judges; new judges are required to purchase robes.
Under that heading, newly appointed High Court judge, Mr Justice Denis McDonald claimed €1,848 under incidental expenses that includes judicial attire.
Mr Justice McDonald didn’t claim any other expenses during the period.
In total, judges claimed and received €18,010 in incidental expenses including judicial attire expenses during the six months.
In total, 62 district court judges claimed a total of €673,086 in expenses with circuit court judges claiming €347,074.
High Court judges claimed €63,718 in expenses with the Court of Appeal judges receiving €1,051.
The eight judges on the Supreme Court claimed a total of €3,640 in expenses with Chief Justice Frank Clarke receiving €657 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.