M50 crackdown sees fines of €130,000 for toll dodgers

Taxi driver, milkman and other drivers fined for not paying toll

Traffic on Dublin’s M50. File photograph: Alan Betson

Traffic on Dublin’s M50. File photograph: Alan Betson

 

Motorists were hit with fines totalling more than €130,000 on Monday for dodging M50 tolls.

A taxi driver, a milkman and other commercial and private road users were among the 11 cases in which hefty fines ranging from €12,000 to €17,000 were handed down by Judge John Brennan at Dublin District Court.

None of the defendants attended the hearing or co-operated with the National Roads Authority (NRA) which Judge Brennan described as an aggravating factor.

Each case featured five sample counts and downloaded images were furnished to the court as evidence by NRA official Sarah Kavanagh. The evidence furnished to the court showed the passage of the offending vehicles on the barrier-free motorway on dates in April, May and June this year, as well as proof of ownership.

On top of the fines Judge Brennan ordered them each to pay €750 in prosecution costs.

Alan Downey, from The Elms, Newbridge, Co Kildare, was fined €13,500. Ms Kavanagh told the court that the car had been registered to Downey who did not pay the €3.10 toll for passages on the motorway on five sample counts . She said that 236 passages had been made by his car and no repayments were made and there had been not contact from him.

Andrius Pagojus, with an address at Verdemont, Snugborough Road, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was also fined €13,500. The court heard that aside from the five sample charges there had been 196 unpaid journeys made by the car registered in his name.

Milk-van owner, Brian Fortune from Glenhill Drive, Finglas East, Dublin, was fined €16,000. The NRA witness said that between May 22nd and May 24th last there were nine journeys made by his van and each toll would have cost €3.90 because of the classification of his vehicle.

Ms Kavanagh also said that in total his van had done 350 passages on the motorway and just two of the tolls had been paid in April.

Judge Brennan said the fact the defendant was a commercial enterprise was another aggravating factor.

Florin Paun with an address at Rose Vale, Blakestown, Dublin, paid 11 tolls out of 196 journeys on the motorway, Ms Kavanagh said. He also faced five sample counts for travelling on the motorway without paying the €3.10 toll between May 24th and May 26th last. That motorist was fined €13,500.

Gheorge Miron from The Boulevard, French Park, Tyrellstown, Dublin, used “a class-9” goods vehicle which required a €5.30 toll payment. His five sample charges were between May 16th and May 18th last. The NRA witness gave his history of non-payment saying he had made 140 passages on the motorway and no payments had been received. Judge Brennan fined him €12,000.

Taxi owner Maria Cahill from Dromheath Avenue, Mulhuddart, Blanchardstown, Dublin, was summonsed on sample charges for using the M50 without paying the toll on five occasions between May 10th and May 19th last. The court was told that in total her car had done 263 journeys; there had been no repayments and she had not contacted the NRA. She was fined €15,000.

Martin McDonagh Jnr from Cara Park, Coolock, Dublin was fined €13,500 for his five sample counts. Ms Kavanagh said the car registered in his name had a history of 196 passages on the M50 but only five toll payments.

Shane Lambert, from Earlsfort Avenue, Lucan, Co Dublin was fined €17,000 on his five charges. The judge heard the accused had history of 232 passages on the M50 but only eight toll payments. He received the highest fine in the crackdown on Monday.

Ms Kavanagh agreed with Thomas Rice BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) that this defendant had been fined previously for the same offence. He was the only one with a prior conviction for non-payment of the toll.

Sorin Chiciu, with an address at Riverwood Green, Castleknock, Dublin, was fined €15,000. Judge Brennan heard evidence that he had done 305 journeys on the motorway and had not paid any of the tolls.

Heavy goods vehicle owner, Thomas Clancy, from Seaview Heights, Rathnew, Wicklow was fined €13,500 on five sample charges for not paying on dates between May 1 and May 11 this year. However, the court heard that his vehicle had a history of 159 passages with no payments and he made no contact with the NRA in relation to the amount owed. Another goods vehicle owner was also fined €13,500.

The judge said that the fines must be paid within six months. Two cases were adjourned and two other motorists had their prosecutions withdrawn or struck out.

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.