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Driver fined €25,000 in M50 toll-dodging crackdown

Transport Infrastructure Ireland are taking a new hardline stance on those who don’t pay their tolls, including the seizure of offenders’ cars.
Dec 17th 2015, 11:20 AM 31,630 56

1/5/2013. Traffic Congestions Source: Eamonn Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

A FINE OF €25,000 was slapped on one motorist in 2015 for persistent non-payment of tolls on Dublin’s M50 motorway.

The huge fine has emerged as Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the new guise of the former-National Roads Authority, announced the rate of compliance for toll-payments nationwide.

The current compliance rate on the M50 toll (which has been barrier-free for some years with all tolls paid after the fact) stands at 96.7%, meaning just 3.3% of fines go uncollected.

“TII is working to ensure that there is fairness in the system for the people who are playing by the rules and paying their toll,” a spokesman for the body told TheJournal.ie.

The way we do that is by going after the 3.3% who think the rules don’t apply to them.

In terms of toll-enforcement, the TII is starting to show something of a tougher streak, with all non-payment chased down by their legal representatives, Kerry-based solicitors Pierse FitzGibbon.

The compliance rate for the toll has improved in recent years; however TII estimate that between 1,600 and 2,000 persistent offenders remain.

Fines

The highest fine dished out for repeated non-payment in 2015 was €25,000.

This amounted to five separate €5,000 fines being issued as the offender in question repeatedly failed to show up in court.

One criminal case from 2014 saw a person who had failed to pay their M50 toll on 437 occasions in nine months receive a criminal conviction and a fine of €15,000.

Pierse Fitzgibbon process some 6,000 claims against non-payers annually, with in the region of 300-400 criminal summons made on behalf of TII.

2,875 civil claims judgements were granted in favour of TII in 2015.

A criminal summons can carry a penalty of up to €5,000 and possibly six months in prison. TII introduced criminal prosecutions last year for the first time in a bid to tackle persistent offenders.

But TII also have the option to both publish offenders’ names (in Stubbs Gazette) and refer them to a sheriff whereupon goods to the value of unpaid fines can be seized, including vehicles.

486 such judgements were sent to a sheriff last year resulting in the seizure of 42 vehicles.

Read: New 40,000 stadium close to Dublin’s M50 ‘on the cards’, says Leinster Council chief

Read: M50 drivers will have to go at different speeds, depending on how busy the road is

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Cianan Brennan

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