Thirteen motorists fined €165,000 for dodging M50 tolls

One car owner was accused of failing to pay for more than 500 trips for which he got over 1,800 letters

The judge said his court needed to send out the right message about M50 toll evasion cases. File image: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

The judge said his court needed to send out the right message about M50 toll evasion cases. File image: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

 

Thirteen motorists accused of dodging M50 tolls were hit with fines totalling €165,000 on Monday.

The penalties ranging from €5,000 to €15,000 were imposed by Judge Anthony Halpin during a single sitting of Dublin District Court.

In all the prosecutions which resulted in fines, none of the motorists, who had been summonsed, came to court. One was accused of not paying tolls for more than 500 trips and was allegedly sent over 1,800 letters demanding payment.

Cases against them went ahead in their absence. Eleven other people had their cases adjourned and two had their cases struck out after motorists engaged with the lawyers for Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) which runs the barrier-free motorway.

Judge Halpin said the court needed to send out the right message about M50 toll evasion cases.

Every case dealt with on Monday featured five sample counts and photo evidence of how many times the defendants’ vehicles had been detected using the motorway without paying the charge.

Judge Halpin imposed smaller fines on some motorists who made efforts to pay their tolls.

The court heard the prosecution’s evidence showed the passage of the vehicles, mostly private cars, on the barrier-free motorway on dates in September, November and December 2018, as well as proof of vehicle ownership at the time. One unpaid trip on Christmas Day ended up costing a motorist €3,000 alone.

Vehicle owners were given six months to pay the fines as well up to €350 in prosecution costs.

Neill Byrne, with an address at St Fintan’s Park, Deansgrange, Blackrock, Dublin was fined €15,000. He received 411 letters about unpaid tolls, and his car had a history of 137 passages with no payments, the court heard.

Alexandru Sava, of Sundalke Villas, Jobstown, Tallaght, Dublin, received fines totalling €5,000. His vehicle had a history of 177 passages but there were payments for just 12 of them.

Karl Ashmore, of Ardmore Close, Fortunestown, Tallaght, was fined €15,000 after receiving 1,161 letters about unpaid tolls. His car had a history of 387 M50 trips but payment was received for just four of them, the court heard.

Ciaran Casey with an address at Adare Park, Coolock, Dublin, whose car had a history of 202 passages with no payments, was fined €15,000.

Commercial van owner Patrick Joyce with an address at Briarfield Road, Kilbarrack, Dublin, who had a history of 157 passages with no payments, was fined €15,000.

Michael Kavanagh, of Kilbrook Upper, Tullamore, Co Offaly, who was sent 636 unanswered letters about 212 unpaid motorway charges, was fined €15,000.

Christopher McGarr, of Clonwood Heights, Clane, Co Kildare, whose car made 98 passages against which four payments were made, was fined €5,000.

Elena Sibu with an address at Aulden Grange, Santry, Dublin, whose car had a history of 181 unpaid trips, was fined €15,000.

Peter Hussey, of Fforster Park, Ballyowen, Lucan, Dublin, whose car had a history of 191 unpaid trips, was fined €15,000.

Alan Murphy of Woodford Crescent, Clondalkin, Dublin, whose car had a history of 610 journeys over almost three years leading to 1,830 letters being sent and resulting in 93 payments being made, was fined €5,000.

Alexandru Makula, with an address at The Close, Hazelhatch Park, Celbridge, Co Kildare, whose car made 147 unpaid journeys, was fined €15,000.

Cristimes Bacelam, Coolmine Court, Coolmine, Dublin, whose car made 278 unpaid passages, was fined €15,000.

Emmanuel Solo, with an address at Riverside, Watery Lane, Clondalkin, Dublin, whose car made 168 unpaid M50 journeys, was also fined €15,000.

The standard M50 toll for an unregistered private car is €3.10 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.