independent

Saturday 19 April 2014

300 parking summonses thrown out over council error

MORE than 300 drivers found themselves with a little extra cash in their pockets after a court threw out a raft of parking summonses over a council oversight.

Galway City Council had been expecting a windfall in fines as a result of the 349 summons which came before Galway District Court. Instead, it was left empty-handed and facing a legal bill after every one of them was thrown out for failing to include the relevant traffic warden act.

The council had expected to be awarded in the region of €28,000 in fines in addition to about €40,000 to cover the costs of taking the action.

Now it will have to cover its own costs for the day in court. However, the council has insisted those costs were "not significant".

A spokesperson insisted it would re-issue every summons, ensuring it would not be left out of pocket.

The problem arose after it issued summonses that did not include mention of the Local Authorities (Traffic Warden) Act 1975, under which the prosecutions were being taken.

"This is not an issue that has arisen before. Subject to the advice of our legal team we may have to make changes to the summons in future," the spokesperson added.

The council has two years from the date of issue of the original summons to re-issue to suspected offenders. The earliest summons dealt with last week was issued in July 2011, giving the local authority over six months to re-issue the documents.

Criticising the legal error, Galway councillor Padraig Conneely said: ''I would like answers as to how many more of these summonses have gone out and what exactly it will cost the council."

Irish Independent

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