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Fines could be deducted from earnings

THE Government is examining measures to collect court-imposed fines from the offender's earnings or social welfare payments.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter yesterday said he believed the present arrangements to be inefficient and a waste of public money.

He said he was interested in a proposal from the annual conference of the Garda Representative Association that unpaid fines should be linked to an offender's personal tax record and collected by the Revenue Commissioners.

Mr Shatter acknowledged that a 'revolving door' existed for fine defaulters who opted to go to jail rather than pay up.

He said a plan to make deductions from earnings or social welfare payments was already under consideration.

The minister also said he was in favour of a conference motion to introduce a financial whistleblowers' charter in the public service.

The conference heard that members of the public service were not being encouraged to speak out and a charter would allow them to highlight wrongdoing or waste of public funds.

Delegates also wanted Mr Shatter to bring in legislation to deal with white-collar crime and irregularities in the financial sector.

Irish Independent