Judge dread cost us £16m

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Bodyguards and escorts for Northern Ireland judges cost the taxpayer over £16m between January 2013 and March this year, it’s been revealed.

The cost for providing Close Protection Unit cover to judges between January 1 and March 31, 2015 was £2,033,555.

For the whole of 2014 the figure was £7,086,309 and in 2013 it was £7,050,482.

The figures included court security and related travel time and official judicial business and functions and refers to manpower costs only.

It’s believed the bodyguards and other protections are principally provided as a result of the continuing threat from dissident republicans.

During the Northern Ireland Troubles the Irish Republican Army was responsible for killing eight members of the judiciary. This included three judges, four magistrates and a senior director of public prosecutions.

The judges murdered by the IRA were Rory Conaghan (1974), William Doyle (1983) and Lord Justice Sir Maurice Gibson (1987).

The INLA were also responsible for the murder of a magistrate.

As recently as 2009 one of Northern Ireland’s highest profile judges had to move out of his Belfast home over fears of a dissident republican threat against him.

Mr Justice Treacy’s £650,000 house was bought under the Northern Ireland

Housing Executive’s Special Purchase of Evacuated Dwellings (Sped) scheme..