Almost 40% of Covid fines not paid on time

Up to 7,600 people will receive court summons and possibly harsher punishments

Almost 40 per cent of the 20,000 fines issued for breaches of Covid-19 regulations have not been paid within the required time period.

Those fined for breaches have 28 days to pay before being issued with a court summons. According to statistics released on Friday, 37 per cent of Covid fines have not been paid within the required period.

Gardaí have now handed out 20,566 fines for breaches of the regulations, with the vast majority relating to non-essential travel.

This means that in about 7,600 instances, people have refused to pay the fine and will be compelled to appear in the District Court where they face the possibility of a much greater fine or even a prison term.

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A conviction for failing to pay a fixed charge penalty notice, such as a fine for breaching Covid-19 regulations, can result in a criminal record, a fine of €1,000 and up to a month in prison.

Forty two per cent of fines have been paid in full, while another 20 per cent were issued less than 28 days ago, meaning recipients still have time to pay.

Seventy four per cent of those fined are male and 53 per cent are aged 18-25. Fifty per cent of fines have been handed out on Saturdays and Sundays.

Fine weather

On Friday the Garda asked people to continue acting responsibly ahead of the weekend, which is expected to see fine weather.

"An Garda Síochána continues to find groups gathering [house parties, social gatherings, exercise, etc] in breach of regulations," it said in a statement.

“These are not just breaches of regulations, but are a risk to the individuals involved, their families and loved ones, and continue to put everybody’s health and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic at risk.”

Patrols and checkpoints will continue over the weekend to enforce the ban on intercounty travel for non-essential reasons (travelling up to 20km from home into another county is also permitted).

Deputy Commissioner Anne Marie McMahon said: “With good weather forecast this weekend we would ask people to continue to enjoy the outdoors responsibly. Please limit your social contacts. Please do not meet in large groups. Please do not attend parties or gatherings held inside or outside.”

As of April 22nd, a total of 20,566 fines had been issued by gardaí for breaches of Covid-19 regulations including:

14,730 fines of €100 for non-essential travel

3,600 fines of €500 or €150 for organising or attending a house party

1,253 fines of €500 for non-essential journeys to airports or ports

378 fines of €80 each for not wearing a face covering

405 fines of €100 for non-essential travel by Northern Ireland residents for travelling across the Border

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher

Conor Gallagher is Crime Correspondent of The Irish Times