411 people jailed last year for not paying their TV licence
THE number of people jailed for not paying their television licence surged to 411 last year.
The figure represents a 34pc increase on 2012 when 272 people were jailed and continues a trend of year-on-year increases in those who have served time over the offence.
Some 183 offenders were jailed in 2011, while 152 were jailed in 2010 and 75 in 2009.
A spokesperson from the Irish Prison Service said that people who are convicted of not paying their television licence usually serve anywhere between a couple of hours and a couple of days in jail.
They said that the number of prisoners who are in prison for non-payment of a court ordered fine, including those imprisoned for the non-payment of a TV licence, is a tiny fraction of the overall prisoner population.
To illustrate this point they said that on February 28 2014 nine people or 0.22pc out of a total of 4,086 in the Irish prison system were in custody for non-payment of fines.
However, they said that none of these were in custody as a result of the non-payment of a TV licence.
Television licenses cost an annual fee of €160 and are required by law if your household, business or institution possesses a television or equipment capable of receiving a television signal.
A licence is required even if the television or other equipment is broken and currently unable to receive a signal as it is regarded as capable of being repaired.
Failure to produce evidence of a television licence upon inspection can result in a court appearance, fines of up to €1,000 or a prison sentence.
The broadcasting charge will come into effect in 2015 which will be payable by all households regardless of whether or not they have a television.
Communications minister Pat Rabbitte said the charge will not exceed the cost of a television licence.