Croatorum via Shutterstock
Toll bridge in Dublin
Six M50 toll and court dodgers hit with fines totalling €78k
Transport Infrastructure Ireland prosecuted them after sending each driver hundreds of warning letters.
SIX MOTORISTS HAVE together been fined €78,000 after failing to appear in court and ignoring hundreds of warning letters for unpaid M50 tolls.
The prosecutions at Dublin District Court included two commercial vehicle owners among the motorists fined between €6,000 and €25,000 who, despite being summonsed, did not show up.
They faced five sample charges for dodging the motorway charges from June to September last year.
Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII), the State agency dealing with road and public transport infrastructure, prosecuted them after sending each driver hundreds of warning letters.
Today, out of 23 cases listed, 16 were adjourned, and one was struck out.
The judge noted the types of vehicles and their records of outstanding charges. In each case, he heard the overall number of unpaid tolls and details of the level of engagement with the motorway operators.
The TII demonstrated that one driver paid for 51 out of 211 journeys, and she received less severe fines than other motorists who had not made any payments.
A truck owner, who paid for none of his out of 458 journeys, was fined €25,000. He had already been sent 1,110 warning letters before getting a court summons, and still did not appear.
Prosecuting counsel Thomas Rice (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the cases could proceed against the six 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 established that 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 select habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings.
A seventh older case was a retrial for a defendant fined €3,000 previously in his absence, but that judgement was set aside, and he was allowed a fresh hearing yesterday/today (Mon).
He came to court to be fined €500 for five sample charges for unpaid tolls from 2017. The judge heard he had 191 outstanding tolls but noted he has a record of paying for some of his M50 trips to work.
The standard toll for a private car is €3.20, which must be paid before 8 pm the following day, or there is a €3 penalty for missing the deadline.
Motorists get 14 days to pay for the journey and the initial penalty or face a more significant fee.
The charge ramps up after 56 days; warning letters and court proceedings follow if it remains unpaid.
Commercial and goods vehicle owners pay higher tolls. In all cases, the registered vehicle owner is liable even if they were not driving.