Almost €230k in fines handed down to 27 who failed to pay M50 tolls

Highest number of unpaid trips dealt with on Monday was 648 made by private car owner

Fines of between €2,000 and €15,000 were imposed by Judge Anthony Halpin who took into account the track record of unpaid charges in each case and the motorists’ efforts to pay. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Fines of between €2,000 and €15,000 were imposed by Judge Anthony Halpin who took into account the track record of unpaid charges in each case and the motorists’ efforts to pay. File photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Fines totalling €229,000 were imposed on 27 motorists on Monday after they failed to turn up to court accused of evading M50 tolls.

Some 47 motorists had been summonsed to appear at Dublin District Court. They faced five sample counts of not paying tolls for trips from March to November 2019.

Prosecutions against 27of them who did not show up, went ahead in their absence resulting in fines ranging from €2,000 to €15,000 being imposed by Judge Anthony Halpin. He took into account the track record of unpaid charges in each case and the motorists’ efforts to pay.

A bench warrant was issued for the arrest of Des Long, of Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Dublin, who allegedly had a record of 1,139 unpaid trips on the motorway over a 10-month period.

At an earlier hearing, in 2019, he had told the court he intended to pay and was granted adjournments to clear the amount owed.

Most of the cases involved standard private vehicles with records of between just over 100 and almost 400 unpaid trips. Thousands of warning letters were sent to the motorists, the court was told.

The highest number in the cases on Monday involved a private car owner with a history of 648 trips on the motorway. He had been sent nearly 2,000 warning letters, but failed to respond or come to court. He was fined €15,000 .

A commercial vehicle owner, with a history of 326 unpaid tolls, was fined the same amount, as were seven other motorists.

On top of the fines, which have to be paid within six months, vehicle owners were ordered to pay up to €350 in prosecution costs.

The court heard the motorway authority only selected habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings