Updated: 09/10/17 : 06:05:43
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Sligo drivers lose option on court Poor Box

THE POOR Box has all but vanished in Sligo for motorists seeking to escape penalty points.

There were 74 uses of it locally from January 2015 to last month, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil last week.

Collapse Countrywide

But there has been a countrywide collapse in the option when motorists appear in district courts for motoring offences.

Just one Sligo motorist made a Poor Box donation and avoided penalty points in the first nine months of this year.

There were four such cases locally last year, while in 2015 seventy motorists before Sligo Court were able to avoid penalty points after a donation, Dáil stats confirmed.

Massive Drop

Independent TD Tommy Broughan wanted to know why the Poor Box donations were ''still happening.''

However, across the country there has been a massive 70% drop in the use of the Poor Box since January 2015, the TD was told.

Sizeable Shortfalls

The Poor Box was not established in statute and district court judges across Ireland had discretion in nominating it for a donation rather than recording convictions.

Various leading local charities also relied in recent decades on such Poor Box donations to make up for sizeable shortfalls in State funding. 

However, Ministers and TDs increasingly frowned on such usage in lieu of motorists getting penalty points.

Legislation currently being drafted will abolish the Poor Box and replace it with a Reparation Fund, said Minister Flanagan.

This will ''provide for a fair, equitable and transparent system of reparation,' ' he said.

''It will apply only to minor offences dealt with by the District Court,'' Minister Flanagan added.