Over 60 are jailed for not paying TV licence fines
MORE than 60 people were jailed for failing to stump up court fines after they were caught without a TV licence last year.
The cases were among more than 15,700 prosecutions launched against TV licence dodgers in 2009.
An Post said every single household was given time to purchase a €160 licence after they were caught viewing television without the valid paperwork.
Inspectors called to more than 222,000 homes and businesses last year, which resulted in 15,700 prosecutions being initiated. However, not all of these resulted in court cases.
"An Post works to ensure that people are aware of their legal obligation, and to make it as easy as possible for all customers to buy or renew a TV licence," said a spokesman for the company, which earned €12.4m for collecting the fees.
"Prosecution is not the aim, it is a last resort, at which time responsibility moves from An Post to the Courts Service."
More than €226m was collected from fees last year after more than a million licences were purchased -- with a further €55m received from the Department of Social and Family Affairs to cover the 380,000 given to those qualifying for household benefits.
More than 3,366 people were jailed in the first 10 months of last year after they refused, or were unable, to pay various fines. This included 62 who ignored fines for not having a TV licence.
The numbers jailed for failing to pay fines have risen by 150pc since 2007. A new Fines Bill, due to give the courts power to impose community service orders, such as painting, landscaping or cleaning, is expected to become law this year.