M50 Toll Dodgers Hit With Fine...


M50 Toll Dodgers Hit With Fines Totalling €133,000

Laura Donnelly
Laura Donnelly

04:38 20 Jun 2022

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A judge imposed fines totalling €133,000 on 11 motorists who ignored court prosecutions despite thousands of warning letters for repeatedly avoiding payment of M50 tolls.

Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) summonsed them to appear at Dublin District Court today.

However, they did not attend their hearings, which went ahead in their absence, and Judge Anthony Halpin handed out fines ranging from €6,000 to €15,000.

Ten faced five sample counts, and the other defendant had three counts for unpaid tolls in 2021. Nine involved regular private cars, but two used larger goods vehicles.

TII also revealed each motorist's overall track record of unpaid charges and the number of warning letters sent before court proceedings commenced.

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 defendants before bringing the court prosecutions, which can carry a potential custodial sentence.

A goods vehicle owner had a record of 612 journeys and just ten payments even though he had been sent more than 1,000 letters.

TII obtained certificates detailing the registered owners of the vehicles as well as the images of them passing the toll gantry on the M50 on specific dates.

Prosecuting counsel Tony McGillicuddy BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the defendants were not in court, but Judge Halpin consented to his application to proceed in their absence.

Counsel called on a TII witness to confirm each vehicle's ownership records, the number of passages, payment history and the relevant level of contact.

The judge heard that most did not engage with the transport agency.

On top of the fines, the judge ordered vehicle owners to pay €350 in prosecution costs within six months.

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

The court has heard that it was the practice of the motorway authority to select habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings.

At the time of the offences, the standard M50 toll for a private car was €3.10, which had to be paid before 8 pm the following day or face a €3.00 penalty for missing the deadline.

Motorists had 14 days to pay for the journey and the initial penalty or face a further €41 penalty.

After 56 days comes an additional charge; if it remained unpaid, warning letters and court proceedings followed.

Commercial and goods vehicle owners pay higher tolls.

The registered vehicle owner is liable even if they were not driving.

Reporting by Tom Tuite

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