Christmas has come early for a number of organisations and voluntary associations across the county as a fund of €75,000 from the court poor box has been distributed among 24 worthy causes just in time for the festive season.
Court poor box money comes from contributions paid by persons who have been prosecuted for possession of small amounts of illicit drugs such as cannabis.
The majority of such prosecutions arise from Garda operations carried out during two music festivals held in Co Westmeath.
A drugs conviction for possession could be a bar to obtaining a travel visa to such places as USA or Australia.
Provided Judge Seamus Hughes is satisfied there are no previous criminal convictions, in the main, he gives an option to those prosecuted to make a contribution to the Court Poor Box and avoid a conviction.
Due to the success of such Garda operations, the amount available each year for distribution in Co Longford and Co Westmeath has been increasing and in excess of two million euro has been distributed since Judge Seamus Hughes was appointed as presiding Judge.
However, with proposed legislative changes, particularly in respect of cases involving small amounts of drugs in a persons possession, it is anticipated the amounts paid in the court poor box in 2020 and future years with be reduced substantially.
This year’s court poor box fund came to €75,000 and was divided up as such:
* Longford Women’s Link: €20,000
* LEAP C/O Foróige Longford: €10,000
* Longford Tidy Towns: €5,000
* Attic Youth Café: €2,000
* St Christopher’s Services Ltd: €3,000
* Edgeworthstown District Development Association Ltd: €2,000
* Kenagh United Children’s Soccer Club: €2,000
* Longford Community First Responders: €1,000
* Colmcille Defibrillator Group: €1,000
* Dromard Ladies GFC: €1,000
* Granard Tidy Towns: €2,500
* St Joseph’s NS Longford: €1,500
* Longford Town Suburbs Project: €3,000
* Annaly Park Residents Association: €1,000
* Killoe Newtownforbes Community Project: €1,000
* Society of St Vincent De Paul: €2,000
* Lus na Gréine Family Resource Centre: €3,500
* Killashee Tidy Towns: €1,500
* Bethany House: €4,000
* Club Ardagh Community Childcare: €1,500
* The Alzheimer Society of Ireland (Longford): €2,000
* Longford Town Men’s Shed: €1,500
* Killoe Celtic Soccer Club: €2,000
* Scoil Mhuire Newtownforbes: €1,000
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