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Thursday 27 June 2019

Up to 65pc of fined drivers still refusing to cough up

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Ralph Riegel

A road safety group has challenged the Government over what is being done about 65pc of motorists - more than 12,000 drivers - who have continued to blatantly ignore fixed-charge notice (FCN) penalties.

Parc expressed shock after two Government ministers -Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan and Transport Minister Shane Ross - hailed a new third payment option to tackle such fine arrears as a success.

Parc (Promoting Awareness Responsibility and Care) pointed out that 65pc of penalised motorists still ignore fines.

Parc founder Susan Gray warned that while it welcomed the fact 35pc of motorists were now complying with the so-called third payment option, it is alarmed two in every three recalcitrant motorists are still choosing to ignore the final payment avenue.

"We want to know what the Government proposes to do about these motorists who seem intent on ignoring every option available to them to properly deal with these fixed charge notices," she said.

"Of course it is good news that 6,759 cases are not proceeding to court thanks to the new third payment option.

"But what is being done about the 65pc who have continued to ignore it? That total of 12,552 motorists who have ignored the fines is very, very serious."

The so-called third payment option was introduced on June 1, 2017, in a bid to increase the payment rate for such FCN fines and to reduce the number of cases arriving in court.

Both Mr Flanagan and Mr Ross "welcomed the improved operation of the Garda FCN processing system".

Until June 2017, motorists who received a FCN traffic penalty had two payment options - to pay the fine within 28 days or to pay the fine within a further 28-day period with a 50pc surcharge.

The third payment system was aimed at giving people another option to avoid a court appearance - and ease the flood of cases arriving at district courts nationwide. The third option allows the offender to pay a fixed charge, 100pc greater than the original penalty, up to a date within seven days of the scheduled court appearance.

Tommy Broughan TD and Parc had been seeking the third payment option since 2012 as a common-sense measure.

But Parc warned it was vital a message is sent out that ignoring all three options has very serious consequences.

Irish Independent

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