Avoid jail by paying fines in your local corner shop

Courts Service seeking 480 retail outlets to participate in new system of fines payment

Counties with only one court venue, such as Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford and Offaly, will require only five retailers in each county. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

Counties with only one court venue, such as Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford and Offaly, will require only five retailers in each county. Photograph: Frank Miller/The Irish Times

 

People fined in the courts will soon be able to pay the penalty in their local shop while buying their groceries.

Under a new plan, the Courts Service is seeking for 480 retail outlets nationwide to participate in the new system of fines payment. It is estimated that retailers will accept as many as 93,000 fine payments each year.

Last year, the Courts Service collected over €13.75 million in fines across the country, with a 76 per cent collection rate, compared to an 82 per cent rate in 2012.

Fines collected for motoring offences accounted for nearly half, or €6.8 million, of the total.

As part of the system, being introduced soon, the Courts Service requires that every court venue in the country have five separate retail outlets that can accept fine payments.

In Dublin alone, under the new system, the Courts Service is asking the firm that provides the service to have in place 55 retailers who will accept fines at their shops.

Cork is to have 50 retailers accepting fines from the 10 court venues in the county, while Galway will have 40 retailers collecting money for the eight court venues situated there.

Other counties required to have more than 30 retailers accepting the payment of fines include Tipperary, Mayo, Kerry and Donegal.

Counties with only one court venue, such as Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford and Offaly, will require only five retailers in each county.

One of the objectives of the new legislation is to reduce the number of people sent to prison each year and will allow people pay by instalment.