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The largest fine was €19,000

Nine motorists fined €107,000 for unpaid M50 tolls, including man who didn't pay for 559 trips

The fines for the nine motorists ranged from €5,000 to €19,000.

NINE MOTORISTS WERE fined a combined €107,000 today for unpaid M50 tolls, including a man who used the motorway more than 550 times.

The defendants did not attend their scheduled Dublin District Court hearings, and Judge Anthony Halpin imposed fines ranging from €5,000 to €19,000 for their absence.

Car owners faced five sample charges for dodging the tolls on Ireland’s busiest motorway from April to June.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the State agency responsible for road and public transport infrastructure, prosecuted them after sending each driver hundreds of warning letters.

Judge Halpin noted the vehicle types and overall records of outstanding charges, and that the motorists did not turn up to court despite getting summonses.

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

The lowest fine, €5,000, was imposed on a private vehicle owner who paid for 30 out of 325 trips.

The driver with the worst record paid for none of his 559 trips, which cost €3.20 each.

He was fined €19,000.

The court heard motorists received hundreds of warning letters about the charges, and most did not respond to attempts to sort out the payments.

Vehicle owners received lesser penalties when the court heard they paid for some of their charges.

The fines must be paid within six months and the motorists were also ordered to pay €350 in costs.

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

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

Some had recently stopped being owners of the cars subject to the prosecutions.

However, TII had evidence to show they were the owners at the time of the journeys.

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, it remains the practice of the motorway authority to pick habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings.

The standard toll for a private car is now €3.50, which must be paid before 8pm 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 higher tolls.

The registered owner is liable in all cases, even if they were not driving.

Five cases were adjourned for drivers to engage with the motorway operators about the money they still owe.

Four others were withdrawn, having resolved their cases.

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