M50 toll dodging costs 22 motorists over €200,000
Des Long, who faces allegations of 1,139 unpaid M50 trips, claims he had reached eFlow deal
Des Long, of Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Co Dublin: case adjourned until a date in January. Photograph: Collins Courts
Twenty-two motorists were hit with fines totalling €205,000 on Monday after they failed to turn up to court accused of M50 toll dodging.
Des Long, of Rathsallagh Park, Shankill, Dublin, came to his hearing and faced allegations of 1,139 unpaid trips on the motorway since he bought his new van last December.
He told Judge Anthony Halpin at Dublin District Court that he had already paid €7,500 to the sheriff over outstanding tolls. However, it emerged this amount related to another vehicle he had.
The court heard he had been sent 4,417 reminder letters over the motorway charges in his new van which incurred a toll of €5.30 each time he used the M50.
He is being prosecuted on five sample counts.
In court, Mr Long insisted he had been trying to deal with eFlow, which operates barrier-free tolling on the M50 for Transport Infrastructure Ireland.
He claimed he reached an agreement over all his toll issues. “I was clearing my name, not my vehicles,” he said.
However, the judge noted from the prosecution’s evidence that the money he had paid so far related to a different van and not his new one, the subject of the proceedings in court on Monday.
The judge told him he had delayed the matter and warned he now faced the possibility of receiving fines totalling €25,000. Mr Long’s case was adjourned until a date in January.
Some 42 motorists had been summonsed to appear in court on Monday.
Prosecutions against 22 of them went ahead in their absence resulting in hefty fines, scaled by by the judge to reflect the amount of unpaid tolls in each case. Most had records of between 100 and 200 unpaid trips. Thousands of warning letters were sent to the motorists but the majority did not reply, the court was told.
One private car owner had a history of 373 trips without paying. He had been sent 1,119 letters and was fined €15,000 on Monday.
Among them were five commercial vehicle owners, three of them were fined €15,000 and two of them were ordered to pay €10,000.
Most cases involved five sample counts.