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The M50 motorway Alamy Stock Photo

Court issues €154,000 in fines to M50 toll dodgers, including a van driver who did not pay 666 times

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) prosecuted them after sending hundreds of warning letters.

A JUDGE HAS fined 13 motorists €154,000 after they skipped court prosecutions for repeatedly dodging M50 tolls, including a van driver who failed to pay for using the motorway 666 times.

They did not attend their scheduled Dublin District Court hearings today, and Judge Anthony Halpin imposed fines ranging from €4,000 to €25,000 in their absence.

Nine car owners, a lorry driver, and three van owners faced sample charges for avoiding the tolls on Ireland’s busiest road from April to November last year.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) prosecuted them after sending hundreds of warning letters.

Judge Halpin heard information about vehicle types and detailed records of outstanding charges, and he noted that the motorists did not turn up in court despite getting summonses.

In each case, he heard evidence of the motorists’ level of engagement with the M50 operators and vehicle ownership history.

Twenty-six cases were adjourned. Two defendants showed up to plead guilty, and because of that, Judge Halpin ordered them to pay €350 in fines and costs. He also said that ended the criminal prosecution, but the motorway operator could still seek to resolve the amount owed for the unpaid tolls.

Prosecutions proceeded without the 13 defendants who did not come to court, and they were fined.

The judge heard about a van owner who had used the motorway 666 times in a few years but never paid. 

He and another van owner, who had 707 outstanding tolls, were each fined €25,000, which must be paid within three months. The third van over, with a record paying for 59 out of 441 tolls, was fined €13,000.

The lorry driver was fined €15,000 after the judge noted he had not paid for any of his 78 trips on the M50.

One private car owner who did not pay for any of his 360 trips and another with a zero payment record for 80 trips were each fined €15,000.

Others who made some efforts were hit with less severe penalties.

They were also ordered to pay the fines and €350 in costs within three months.

Prosecuting counsel Thomas Rice (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the cases against the 13 defendants could proceed in their absence.

A TII witness confirmed each vehicle’s ownership records, the number of passages, and payment history.

There was also evidence showing they were the registered owners then.

It also had images of all the vehicles passing the toll gantry.

The court can impose fines of up to €5,000 per charge and a six-month sentence.

However, the motorway authority’s practice is to pick habitual non-payers for criminal proceedings.

The standard toll for a private car is now €3.50, which must be paid before 8 pm the following day, or there is an added penalty.

Surcharges ratchet up after 56 days, followed by warning letters and court proceedings if it remains unpaid. Commercial and goods vehicle owners pay more, and registered owners are liable.

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