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Judges run up €1.6m in expenses as claims fall

Judges racked up €1.6m in expenses last year.

New figures showed 149 members of the judiciary cut their claims by almost a third over the last two years, from €2.4m in 2008.

But over €30,000 was forked out on judicial attire and incidental expenses.

The Courts Service said costs dropped in 2010 despite an increase in the number of court sittings and judges.

The eight Supreme Court judges claimed €14,000; 37 High Court judges collected almost €138,000; and 38 Circuit Court judges put in for more than half-a-million euro of expenses. The 66 District Court judges racked up €953,491.

A Court Service spokesman said judges went beyond the 25pc reduction in rates of travel and subsistence applied by the Government since 2008.

He maintained 40pc was saved in accommodation and subsistence, while transport costs fell by 16pc. Almost 98pc of expenses related to travel and subsistence when judges attended courts in Dublin and around the country.

"There were 55 Circuit Court venues and 126 District Court venues outside of Dublin in 2010," he said.

"The amount of travel and subsistence expenses paid to individual judges varies widely and is very much related to the jurisdiction.

"Judges based in Dublin have very little travel and subsistence expenses, while judges assigned to larger geographical areas have substantial travel."

In addition there are judges who cover annual leave, sick leave and provide assistance nationwide. Elsewhere 22 of the 147 judges failed to pay a voluntary pension levy last year.

The Revenue revealed 25 judges paid the voluntary pension levy last year, yielding €1,246,787 in taxes.

The voluntary pension levy for judges was introduced in May 2009.

Irish Independent