We all Hope as Irish People, that the Law, is for all, Fair and Equal? Josh Allen is a Convicted Drug Dealer, his Grandparents own Ballymaloe House?

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State paid €127,484 for judges to stay at Ballymaloe House over past decade

Ballymaloe House hotel in Shanagarry, Co. Cork

Ballymaloe House hotel in Shanagarry, Co. Cork

March 29 2021 02:30 AM

The State paid €127,484 over the last decade to accommodate judges at the Ballymaloe House Hotel.

Data obtained by former transport minister Shane Ross and released over the weekend showed judges spent 526 nights at the hotel in the period.

They were provided with bed and breakfast, dinner and a packed lunch while attending court sittings in Co Cork.

Ballymaloe has been used as accommodation for travelling judges, who stay to allow superior courts to sit in provincial locations.

Among those to have used the accommodation are High Court Judge Kevin Cross, who incurred three bills in June 2019, costing a total of €3,135.

In 2018, Court of Appeal Judge Seamus Noonan took up residence at Ballymaloe for three five-day sessions at a total cost of €3,760, the Sunday Independent revealed yesterday.

The Courts Service said in a statement it had “always sought and achieved considerably reduced rates for suitable accommodation and board”.

Rates for judges’ hotel stays are sanctioned by the Department of Finance, but they may opt to stay in hotels where prices are above the sanctioned rate. Having superior courts sit in location saves associated travel costs for lawyers, parties to a case, witnesses and gardaí, if they had to come to Dublin. A spokesman for the Courts Service said there was nothing to add.

The hotel is run by the Allen family and is known for its association with high quality food.

Rachel Allen runs a €12,000-per-place cookery programme at the famous Shanagarry complex in east Cork, near the site of the world-renowned hotel and restaurant.

Last night Rory Allen told the Irish Independent judges have been staying at their hotel for many years and suggested the hotel rates were reasonable.

“The judges do stay here,” he said. “We’re not massively expensive. Judges have been coming and saying here for 30 or 40 years. We were slightly surprised to see our name [raised in connection with judges expenses]. Lots of places are very expensive and we’re not that,” he said.

In 2018 and 2020, excess amounts incurred for stays at Ballymaloe were paid by judges directly to the hotel. Documents show €480 was repaid by judges to the Courts Service in 2019 for excess amounts, including €110 by Mr Justice Cross.

There were only two stays at the hotel by judges last year before the pandemic interrupted court sittings. High Court Judges Mary Rose Gearty and Michael Twomey each spent five nights there at a cost of €1,425 each.

It also emerged over the weekend that Irish judges have made hundreds of foreign trips in recent years at a significant cost to the taxpayer.

Documents on foreign travel show judges made more than 500 foreign trips between 2015 and the early part of 2020 which have cost the Courts Service almost €180,000.

Buenos Aires in Argentina, Chilean capital Santiago, Jerusalem, Sydney and a number of US trips were on the itineraries of some judges.

Chief Justice Frank Clarke has made 36 foreign trips since he was appointed in July 2017. Since 2015 he has made more than 50 trips abroad on official duty.

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