Over a quarter-of-a-million-euro was collected through the poor box system in Shannonside courts last year.
According to Freedom of information documents, St Lomans GAA Club in Mullingar was the sporting organisation to benefit most from the scheme – receiving €20,000.
The court poor box is generally used by judges at District Court level for first time offences and less serious matters.
In total courts’ poor boxes paid out €1.7m to charities, hospitals and sporting organisations in 2018 with the Society of African Missions the charity to benefit the most.
Locally €231,000 was collected at Mullingar court – where St. Loman’s Gaa club received the largest single payment of €19,500
In total over 160 charities or groups benefited from the fund in Mullingar – one of the most generous courts in the country.
Just over €12,000 was collected at Longford court with the largest single donation to Coosan National School, which received €2,000, while overall 14 groups or charities benefited from the court poor box.
Just over €4,000 was collected at the Carrick-on-Shannon and Roscommon ourts services poor boxes each, while €1,650 was collected by court service staff from people before judges in Ballinasloe.
The Department of Justice says changes are coming.
New legislation is being drafted which intends to abolish the court poor box and replace it with a statutory Reparation Fund to provide for a transparent system.