EXCLUSIVE: Taxpayers hit in pocket as Longford courts hand out over €700k in legal aid and DPP costs

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

File photo

Longford courts have handed out over €700,000 in legal aid over the last two and a half years.

Taxpayers have forked out over €700,000 in criminal legal aid and DPP prosecution costs in Longford courts since 2015, newly released figures reveal.

The cost of providing expenses to state barristers as well as legal representation afforded to defendants in that time has cost the public purse an overall total of €713,000.

Those figures are contained in a series of documents obtained by the Leader in recent days under the Freedom of Information Act.

Almost half of that sum (€320,000), has gone towards defence counsels at Circuit Court level.
A further €292,000 was set aside for legal practitioners that routinely operate at sittings of Longford District Court.

In effect, the figures show taxpayers are paying out an average of close to €24,000 a month or €6,000 each week for legal aid in Longford courtrooms.

The Leader has also secured access to prosecution fees amassed by barristers acting on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

During the same two and a half year period (2015-June 2017), payments exceeding €100,000 were provided to prosecuting counsels at various sittings of Longford Circuit Court.

Based on the fees and legal aid contributions approved during the first six months of this year, those figureslook set to remain on par and in some instances, surpass those of previous years.

For a detailed breakdown on Longford's legal aid and DPP expenses bill, see this week's Longford Leader.