Donegal defendants give 11K to
Court Poor Box
PEOPLE in Donegal who
faced a judge for minor offences paid some 11,500
into the Court Poor Box to avoid stiffer penalties
last year, new figures reveal.
The data shows that defendants nationwide
contributed a total of 1,533,610 to hundreds of
charities to avoid convictions and fines for what
are usually first-time and minor offences including
drunk and disorderly behaviour, breaches of the
peace, ignoring garda directions or minor road
The latest statistics from the Courts Service also
show that among the biggest contributors to poor box
coffers were defendants in Co Kerry whose donations
represented about a quarter of last years overall
A total of 27 charities in Donegal received
donations from the Court Poor Box.
The biggest beneficiary was The Donegal Hospice with
1,460. This was followed by the St Vincent De Paul
Society in Ballyshannon which got 1,100 followed by
the SVP Donegal Town conference (1,000). Other
Donegal charities received smaller amounts ranging
from 100 to 900.
Meanwhile, among the
biggest recipients of the court charity funds
nationally in 2016 was the St Vincent De Paul
Society with many of its conferences countrywide
receiving individual sums ranging from 100 to
3,000. The Capuchin Day Centre in Dublin was also
among the highest of the recipients, getting
Other charities receiving substantial five-figure
sums included Christian Blind Mission (53,000);
Sightsavers International (53,000); Ethiopia Aid
(37,500); the Garda Benevolent Trust Fund (28,900)
and Dublin Simon Community (25,325).
Cork Penny Dinners received 21,350 while the Irish
Red Cross got 14,100.
Among the recipients of smaller individual
donations, sometimes nominated by the defendant,
were a number of local hospices, mens sheds;
domestic violence groups, tidy towns branches, youth
groups and autism services.
Broken down by court district, the figures show that
defendants in Tralee, Co Kerry again contributed the
most by far at just over 394,000. Donations from
defendants before the Criminal Courts of Justice in
Dublin amounted to almost 166,000 while Corks
total came to almost 107,000 with defendants in Dun
Laoghaire paying just over 32,500.
A Courts Service spokesman said the Court Poor Box
is an historic practice that allows judges to
exercise discretion when imposing a penalty.
There are many reasons and instances why the Court
Poor Box is used by judges. The accused may never
previously have been before the courts, the accused
may have pleaded guilty, a conviction might be
inappropriate or might adversely affect employment,
career or working abroad prospects, and/or the
offence may be of a minor or trivial nature, he
When combined with the Probation of Offenders Act
it provides an option where some financial penalty
is considered merited but a conviction and fine are
not, the spokesman added.