Motorists overcharged due to ‘technical issue’ on M1 toll to get refund

Electronic payment tag users overcharged on route between Gormanston to Ballymascanian

Celtic Roads Group, operator of the M1 Motorway Toll has apologised to motorists who were overcharged while using the route between Gormanston Co Meath and Ballymascanian in Co Louth.

Celtic Roads Group said holders of electronic payment tags who left the motorway for less than three hours before resuming their journeys should not have been subject to a second charge on returning to the motorway.

The company said that due to “an isolated technical issue” a “limited number” of tag customers “were in fact charged at the second toll point on continuing their journey”.

In a statement Celtic Roads Group said there were approximately 10 million journeys taken on the M1 motorway throughout the period April to December 2017 when the “technical issue” arose. Based on the company’s analysis, the numbers overcharged were about 1,500 electronic tag customers in about 2,000 transactions, amounting to about €6,000.


The company siad it had been engaged in a major upgrade of the toll collection system since mid-April 2017 and this was when the isolated issue arose.

It said it had identified those affected and was engaging with various tag providers and others involved in the overall electronic tolling system to ensure that customer’s accounts are credited as soon as possible. The company said it was “confident that this can be achieved over the next two weeks”.

The company said the issue arose “only for those using electronic tags for payment and does not affect cash customers”.

The statement said the company “sincerely apologises to all affected customers for the error which came about due to an electronic communications fault during a vital IT upgrading project”.

Oireachtas committee meeting

However following complaints from motorists the issue has now been added to the agenda for next Tuesday’s meeting of the Oireachtas Transport Committee.

The Committee was already due to question State road builder Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on its spending on unopened motorway services and why it had not opened a motorway service area since 2010.

Louth-based TD Fergus O’Dowd who is chairman of the Oireachtas Transport Committee said he would like to know on what date did the operator become aware of this problem, what action was taken and on what date were TII informed of this problem. He said he would also be asking what evidence if any is there of any overcharging at other Toll Plazas. He said he would be seeking reassurances from TII on “an independent audit of all such transactions to ensure compliance with charging regulations”.

A spokesman for TII said “the only other location where this tolling provision exists is on the M4 in Enfield, where road users exit the toll road having paid a toll and within three hours, re-enter to continue on their journey in the same direction, a second toll payment will not be required. Checks have been carried out in relation to the M4 Enfield location and there are no indications of issues arising”.

Tuesday’s Oireachtas Transport Committee is also expected to be told that costs of providing security for unopened motorways services areas have risen from about €15,000 to €20,000 with overall costs so far incurred between €500,000 and €1million.

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien

Tim O'Brien is an Irish Times journalist