A judge has fined seven motorists a total of €105,000 after they ignored prosecution and thousands of warnings over unpaid M50 tolls.
ransport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the government agency responsible for road and public transport infrastructure, has today summoned them to appear before Dublin District Court.
However, they did not attend their hearings, which took place in their absence, and Judge Anthony Halpin fined them €15,000 each. He also sentenced the drivers, five men and two women, to pay 350 euros in prosecution costs.
Each driver was a regular private car owner, with five spot checks for unpaid tolls in January and February this year.
TII also outlined each motorist’s overall record of unpaid fees and the number of warning letters sent before the court case began.
Judge Halpin noted the types of vehicles, their records of outstanding charges and that most of them made no effort to pay.
TII sent hundreds of warning letters to most of the defendants before launching charges in court, which could result in a possible prison sentence.
Judge Halpin noted the lack of commitment from the Highway Authority.
TII had sent a driver 750 letters about 280 outstanding tolls, the highest total in today’s proceedings.
Ahead of the court hearing, she obtained certificates detailing the registered owners of the vehicles and pictures of them passing the toll bridge on the M50 on specific dates.
Prosecutor Thomas Rice BL (briefed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the defendants were not on trial, but Judge Halpin granted his motion to proceed in their absence.
The attorney asked a TII witness to confirm each vehicle’s ownership records, number of transits and relevant response and payment history.
The judge heard that most do not cooperate with the transport agency.
The court can impose fines of up to 5,000 euros per charge and imprisonment for up to six months.
The judge also heard that it was the Highway Authority’s practice to single out habitual non-payers for criminal prosecution.
At the time of the violations, the standard M50 toll for a car was EUR 3.20, which had to be paid by 8 p.m. the following day, otherwise a penalty of EUR 3 would be due if the deadline was missed.
Motorists had 14 days to pay for the trip and the initial fine before facing a higher fine.
After 56 days an additional charge came. If this remained unpaid, warnings and court proceedings followed.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/m50-toll-dodgers-seven-drivers-hit-with-fines-totalling-105000-42001799.html M50 toll offenders: Seven drivers fined a total of 105,000 euros