Donegal solicitors paid €503,000 in legal aid

Donegal’s solicitors have seen the amount they are paid by in criminal legal fees drop dramatically over a 12 month period.

Donegal’s solicitors have seen the amount they are paid by in criminal legal fees drop dramatically over a 12 month period.

Figures from the Department of Justice show the amount paid to solicitors in Donegal dropped from over €693,000 in 2009 to €503,000 last year. The drop reflects a decrease paid out by in legal aid fees nationally.

In 2009 over €37m was paid out but this dropped to just under €34m last year.

The decrease in payments to lawyers follows an eight per cent cut to fees in the legal aid scheme in the last two years and a cancellation of a cost-of-living increase.

Payments to solicitors in the county last year ranged from €186,000 to just €200.

Most of the top ten receiptents of criminal leagl aid saw their payments drop.

The biggest earner in county was Buncrana and Letterkenny solicitor Frank Dorrian who received €186,788 last year after receiving €257,900 in 2009.

Letterkenny solicitor Patrick Gallagher was paid €131,290 in 2010, down from €158,770 in 2009.

Kieran Dillion, who is also based in Letterkenny, received €37,064 in 2010, after being paid €65,224 in 2009.

Buncrana based solicitor Ciaran MacLochlainn was paid €29,712, which was a slight increase on 2009. Raphoe solicitor Donough Cleary earned €28,750 in 2010, a increase of €8,000 on 2009.

Dungloe solicitor Cormac Hartnett was paid €24,885 in 2010, a marginal increase on 2009 while Florence Hutchinson of Ballyshannon saw her payment drop fromm €14,614 in 2009 to €8,188 last year.

Donegal Town solicitor James Corbitt was paid €7,297 last year, compared to €9,622 in 2009.

Michael Shiel of Letterkenny received €6,543, a decrease of just €400 compared to the previous year.

Donegal Town solicitor James Canney was paid €6,157 last year compared to €7,554 in 2009.