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Toll dodgers Nine motorists hit with fines totalling €93k for failing to pay M50 tolls

One woman fined €15,000 had a history of 341 unpaid passages over 18 months

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M50 Stock photo

M50 Stock photo

M50 Stock photo

A Judge handed down fines totalling €93,000 to nine motorists on Monday for repeatedly failing to pay M50 tolls.

The National Transport Authority (NTA) summonsed them to appear at Dublin District Court, but they did not show up.

Eight faced five sample counts, primarily for non-payment of tolls for trips from February to July 2021. One had four charges.

In their absence, Judge Anthony Halpin imposed fines ranging from €5,000 to €15,000.

He noted their track records of unpaid charges and their efforts to pay.

Seven of them were drivers of ordinary private cars expected to pay €3.10 every time, while the others were van owners who repeatedly dodged paying €4 per journey.

One woman fined €15,000 had a history of 341 unpaid passages over 18 months.

Another car owner had a record of 265 trips in 10 months and no payments.

The court heard the NTA sent a van driver 1200 warning letters about 450 trips that went unpaid. He was also fined €15,000.

The car owner with the lowest fine had a record of 127 passages, but the court heard he had made five payments and was sent 800 letters.

Another motorist's car used the motorway 102 times between August and December. He paid nothing but received €15,000 in fines when the tolls caught up with him in court on Monday.

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A van owner with four sample counts had the highest number of unpaid trips in the cases in court on Monday. Judge Halpin fined him €7,000 after noting he paid for 118 out of 844 journeys.

A car owner with a no payments record for 96 trips was fined €5,000.

Prosecuting counsel Thomas Rice BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) said the NTA obtained certificates detailing the registered owners of the vehicles as well as the images of them passing the toll gantry on the M50 on specific dates.

A National Transport Authority witness confirmed the details during the hearing, outlining each motorist's number of passages and payment history.

On top of the fines, vehicle owners were ordered to pay €350 in prosecution costs within six months.

Fines of up to €5,000 per charge and a sentence of up to six months can be handed down.

The court has heard that the motorway authority only selected habitual non-payers to face criminal proceedings.

At the time of the offences, the standard M50 toll for a private car was €3.10, which had to be paid before 8 pm the following day or face a €3.00 penalty for missing the deadline.

Motorists had 14 days to pay for the journey and the initial penalty; otherwise, a further penalty of €41 was applied. After 56 days, there was an additional charge of €103, and if it remained unpaid, the court proceedings followed.

Commercial and goods vehicle owners pay higher tolls.

The registered vehicle owner is liable even if they were not driving.

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