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Nearly €36 million in court fines unpaid in last four years

6,616 people have been committed to prison thus far in 2016 for non-payment of fines.

shutterstock_159241907 Source: Shutterstock/Inked Pixels

ALMOST €36 MILLION in fines imposed by the Irish courts service have gone unpaid in the last four years.

In those four years, including the first ten months of 2016, €35,918,924 in fines handed down by the judiciary has gone uncollected.

The figure outstanding actually doubled between 2014 and 2015.

The information is contained in the answer to a parliamentary question submitted by Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan to the Department of Justice.

“Without stronger, more robust, ways of enforcing court fines, many more thousands of euro will remain uncollected. This is not good enough. If people know that they can get away with not paying fines, there is little point in issuing them,” he said.

This is a sizable sum of money that could, and should, have been put to good use by the State.

doj Source: Department of Justice

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In the last four years 33,599 people have been committed to prison for the non-payment of fines.

As at end-October 41,513 fines remain unpaid for the first ten months of this year alone.

“The purpose of the Fines Act was to reduce the number of people being sent to prison for the non-payment of fines,” said O’Callaghan.

“While the Minister is no doubt confident that attachment orders and recovery orders will help collect fines, the figures show otherwise,” he added.

More: How will the new fine payment law coming into force today affect you?

Read: Cystic fibrosis patients ‘dismayed’ at decision to not fund life-changing drug

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