27. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if the operation of the court poor box is to continue for the foreseeable future. [11981/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): As the Deputy is aware, in February 2014 the Government approved the drafting of a Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill to replace the Probation of Offenders Act 1907 with modern provisions dealing with community sanctions and the role of the Probation Service in the criminal justice system. The Bill is currently being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel. It is intended that the legislation will abolish the court poor box and replace it with a statutory Reparation Fund to provide for a fair, equitable and transparent system of reparation that will apply only to minor offences dealt with by the District Court. The new Reparation Fund will be used to provide additional funding for services for victims of crime and compensation payments payable by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal. The legislation will clearly provide that the Reparation Fund may not be used for any purpose other than the provision of compensation, reparation and assistance for victims of crime.
The replacement of the court poor box by a statutory Reparation Fund was recommended by the Law Reform Commission in its 2005 report The Court Poor Box: Probation of Offenders.
The court poor box will continue to operate while the Criminal Justice (Community Sanctions) Bill is being prepared. Once the Bill has passed through the Houses it is envisioned that the court poor box system will be replaced with the Reparation Fund I have described.