Monaghan residents most likely to serve on jury duty
■ Courts Service plans a revamp of the way jurors are selected for duty
Monaghan people are most likely to do their civic duty and serve on a jury, with more than half of all those called making themselves available for trials.
Ireland’s least populous county Leitrim is the place where you were least likely to serve, with just 15% of those called last year attending in court.
The Courts Service has also confirmed it plans a major revamp of selecting jurors with a centralised system set to be introduced this year.
Figures show over 11,000 people were called up for jury duty each month in 2018, with wide variations in how many attend across different counties.
Statistics covering 2017 and most of 2018 show Monaghan’s track record for jury service is the highest in the country.
In the first 11 months of last year, 1,075 people were called up with 634 attending court as required.
Only 77 were excused from duty in Monaghan, with 364 failing to turn up and not providing any excuse.
Some 37,600 people from Dublin were called for jury duty in the period. Of those, 7,546 showed up as requested, with a further 26,782 excused for a variety of reasons. Another 3,272 people were no shows, according to the figures.
From those listed as“excused ”,495 turned out to have been dead, while in 2,385 cases, their letter was “returned to sender”.
Other counties with high attendance records were W ex ford and West me a th where around 30% of potential jurors ended up attending for service.
More than half a dozen counties had attendance rates of less than 20% after no-shows and excused jurors were counted. These include Waterford, Laois, and Kerry.
Cork and Kerry both had high rates for excusing jurors with 75% of those called given permission to avoid serving.
Ex cu sal rates in Me a th and Wicklow were much lower, with only around half of those summoned for duty allowed not to sit on a jury.
Some categories of people are automatically exempt from service and are considered either ineligible or excused “as of right”.
Ineligible jurors are people involved in the administration of justice like judges, ga rd aí, soldiers, prison officers, and lawyers. People suffering from serious ongoing illnesses are also exempted.
Those excused “as of right” include TD sand Senators, many medical personnel who provide an “important community service”, and some who can demonstrate that their work cannot be done by anybody else.
Self-employed people — particularly sole traders — can sometimes be excused from service as their business could suffer if they were forced to serve through a long trial.
Others are excluded from service whether they like it or not, including those convicted of serious offences, anybody who has been given a jail term of five years or more, and anyone who in the last decade has been given a prison sentence of at least three months.
Wide variations between counties are at least partly down to socio-economic reasons and also the accuracy of the electoral roll, from which jurors are drawn.
Counties with high levels of self-employment in agriculture and construction can often have higher than normal excusal rates as well.
A spokesman for the Courts Service said there had been a significant drop in the numbers not attending for jury service compared to a decade ago.