Sunday 17 February 2019

411 people jailed last year for not paying their TV licence

Pat Rabbitte
Pat Rabbitte

Brian Byrne

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.

Irish Independent

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