Ten M50 toll-dodging drivers fined a total of €120,000
None of the motorists attended hearings or contacted National Roads Authority, court hears
Traffic on Dublin’s M50: The standard M50 toll for an unregistered private car is €3.10 and must be paid before 8pm the following day. Photograph: Alan Betson
Fines ranging from €9,000 to €16,000 were handed down by Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court. Three of the defendants had “goods vehicles” while the remaining seven were in private cars including a taxi, the court heard.
None of the defendants whose cases were finalised attended their hearings or contacted the National Roads Authority (NRA), which Judge Brennan described as an aggravating factor.
All of the prosecutions featured five sample counts.
They showed the passage of the offending vehicles on the barrier-free motorway on dates in December 2017 and, in one case, February and March this year, as well as proof of vehicle ownership at the times they used the motorway.
On top of the fines, which added up to €118,000, each vehicle owner was ordered to pay €750 in prosecution costs.
The judge said the fines must be paid within six months.
Some 14 cases were adjourned to allow those motorists engage with the NRA, and one other car owner had his prosecutions withdrawn or struck out having resolved his case.
Prosecution counsel Thomas Rice BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the NRA witness who presented the evidence had certificates of ownership as well as clear downloaded images of the vehicles using the M50.
The court can impose fines of up to €5,000 per charge.
Goods vehicle owner Robert Martin, with an address at Rossfield Avenue, Brookfield, Tallaght, Dublin, was fined €10,000 after he was prosecuted for five journeys on the motorway in February and March 2018. The toll for a goods vehicle was €3.90.
The court heard he was the registered owner at the time. Judge Brennan was told his vehicle had a history of 190 M50 journeys of which just two were paid for in January.
Lisa Sheppard, with an address at The Old House, Aughfarrell, Brittas, Co Dublin, received fines totalling €12,000 for five unpaid trips on the motorway in December. The court heard that she was the registered owner of a private car which had a history of 264 M50 journeys but the toll had just been paid twice.
Adekunie Bello, with an address at Burnell Court, Northern Cross, Malahide Road, Dublin, was fined €13,000 for five unpaid trips on the motorway in December.
Judge Brennan heard that the defendant’s car had a history of 203 unpaid M50 tolls. However, Bello had paid for 371 other journeys on the motorway but the last payment was received in December 2016, Judge Brennan heard.
Francis Carroll from Mangerton Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12, was fined €9,000 on five sample counts. The court heard that the defendant’s vehicle had a history of 135 journeys on the M50 without payment.
Marie McDonagh, with an address at Cluain Airne, Lanesboro Road, Roscommon, Co Roscommon, was the owner of a goods vehicle, the court heard. Judge Brennan fined her €9,000 on her five sample counts. The NRA witness said McDonagh was the registered owner of a vehicle which had a history of 148 unpaid M50 trips.
Catherine McDonagh of Cara Close, Coolock, Dublin was fined €12,000 over the five sample charges of not paying for using the motorway in December. Judge Brennan heard she was the registered owner of a private car which had a history of 239 passages on the motorway of which only one payment was received.
Kathleen Connors of Coolaghknock Avenue, the Plains, Kildare town, who was the owner of another goods vehicle, was hit with fines totalling €15,000 for not paying a €3.90 toll on five occasions in December. Judge Brennan heard her vehicle had a history of 350 passages on the M50 with no payments.
Gintare Valteryte, with an address at The Waterways, Sallins, Kildare, received €12,000 in fines over five journeys by his car in December. The court heard his car had a history of 205 passages without any payment.
John Paul Nolan, of Colliers Wood, Colliers Lane, Portlaoise, Co Laois, was handed fines totalling €10,000 over five unpaid trips on the motorway in December. The judge also noted that his vehicle had a history of 177 passages of which 37 tolls had been paid, the last one in May 2017. Judge Brennan noted this motorist had been compliant initially but not for the past year.
Taxi owner Edward Gibney, with an address at Aspen Park, Kinsealy Court, Swords, Dublin received fines totalling €16,000 for five sample counts of unpaid M50 trips in December 2017. Judge Brennan noted his vehicle had a history of 392 M50 trips but just one toll had been paid in 2016 just after he became the registered owner of the car.
The standard M50 toll for an unregistered private car is €3.10 and must be paid before 8pm the following day or else there is a €3.00 penalty for having missed the deadline. Motorists have 14 days from the date of issue to pay for the journey and the initial penalty, otherwise a further penalty of €41 is applied. After a further 56 days there is an additional penalty charge of €103 and if it remains unpaid legal proceedings follow with the possibility of a court fine of up to €5,000 as well as a jail term of six months, or both, per offence.
The registered owner of a vehicle is responsible even if they were not driving the vehicle.