Friday 20 October 2017

Van driver who had car seized over €13k unpaid M50 toll charges seeks to have court judgement set aside

Mr Parsons says the loss of his car has been devastating

Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff for non payment of Tolls. Picture credit; Damien Eagers
Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff for non payment of Tolls. Picture credit; Damien Eagers

Tom Tuite

A van driver has brought an action to set aside a court judgement which found him liable for €13,000 in unpaid M50 toll charges.

Simon Parsons of New Haven Bay, Balbriggan, Co. Dublin, had been the subject of a Dublin District Court ruling in October following an action by the National Roads Authority (NRA). His car was also seized and sold on as a result of the order.

He was not present to defend the case in October leading to a judgement in default amounting to €13,208 plus €1,004 in legal costs. However, Parsons claims he does not owe that much.

On December 6 last year, his Opel Corsa was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff and was sold in January to recoup some of the money sought by the NRA. The sheriff had thought he get €5,000 for the car but it was sold for €1,100. The involvement of the sheriff also operated as loss for the NRA, the court also heard.

Solicitor Sean Foley for Parsons read his client’s affidavit at Dublin District Court on Monday in a bid to have the judgement set aside. The court heard Mr Parsons needed his car to bring his partner, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to medical appointments.

The court heard he suffered from depression and a psychiatric report was furnished to the judge. He was not able to use a computer and he argued that the e-flow system discriminated against people with limited ability.

Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County sheriff for non payment of tolls. Picture credit: Damien Eagers
Simon Parsons and Michelle Daly holding a letter they received before their car was seized by the Dublin County sheriff for non payment of tolls. Picture credit: Damien Eagers

In his affidavit he also argued that the NRA was profiteering by allowing charges to amount to this level. He also claimed that he paid the tolls at a Topaz garage and he had all his receipts for every time he used the M50 which incurs a €3.10 charge.

In response, Thomas Rice BL (instructed Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) for the NRA, asked the judge to note that Parsons had been served with a civil claim notice in July.

He did not respond to the proceedings and important legal documents and voluminous correspondence from the NRA were ignored until after his car was seized in December.

Counsel said the NRA has reviewed their footage and can say that Parsons paid for 207 journeys on the M50 but had not not paid for 210 trips on the motorway.

Mr Rice said that 140,000 motorists use the motorway and having a pay-station on it defeated its purpose.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case until May. He said that Parsons had “sat on his hands” until his car was seized.

The psychological report was also based on one meeting with Parsons and there was no IQ score. However, Judge Brennan said he was granting the adjournment for Parsons to produce his documentation to be inspected by the NRA otherwise he was finding against him.

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