Payment to Kerry poor box can reach €3,000 for boy racers
Solicitors may start at €400 but Judge James O’Connor will tell them to ‘keep going’
The agreed amount is nearly always increased if it is not paid in time or there is an attempt to pay it in instalments over too long a period.
Much time is spent in Kerry’s district courts discussing contributions to the poor box, where there is an unwritten scale of appropriate donations.
Boy racers, for instance, will be expected to contribute €2,500-€3,000 to lessen a conviction from dangerous to careless driving, and their solicitors will be ready to offer this amount.
The ballpark for other contributions – pertaining to the likes of speeding, public order offences, and after hours serving by pub owners – is regularly well over €500. The final sum can depend on gender, age, previous record and other factors including ability to pay.
Solicitors may start at a figure like €400 but Judge James O’Connor will tell them to “keep going”, until they reach the acceptable figure.
Judge O’Connor presides over district number 17, which takes in the courts of Tralee, Killarney, Dingle, Listowel, Kenmare, Cahersiveen and Killorglin.
Generally, only full contributions are accepted in Kerry. The agreed amount is nearly always increased if it is not paid in time or there is an attempt to pay it in instalments over too long a period.
Two years ago, Judge O’Connor issued a ban on bringing cash to pay the contributions at hearings. So much cash was being brought in it was overwhelming court clerks who were complaining also about safety issues in transporting the money.
In 2016, the Kerry money administered in the Tralee court office was distributed among 61 charities, with overseas charities tackling blindness faring particularly well at the discretion of Judge O’Connor.
The Christian Blind Mission got €53,000, Sightsavers International received €53,000, and World Vision Ireland got €10,500.
Other major recipients from the Tralee court poor box included Ethiopia Aid (€37,500), Action Aid Ireland (€34,000) and the Society of African Missions (€31,200).