Don’t mind the whingers
Sir -- Poor Marie Crowe, stopped by those big bad wolves in the Gardai Siochana and having her car seized for having no tax. (Sunday Independent, Mar. 14, 2010). Well boo-hoo and pardon me while I cry into my cornflakes! It reminded me of a chant frequently heard by gardai when enforcing the Road Traffic Act -- "Why aren't youse out catching the real criminals"?
Legally the car had to be untaxed for a minimum of two months before the gardai could seize it. So we can assume Marie was blithely driving around untaxed for at least two months.
This legislation was introduced in 1994 to bring to heel that small minority of lawbreakers who airily drove untaxed or uninsured. Previously the garda could only issue a summons which could take nine months before a court date. Then a suitable sob story -- "The car was since sold/stolen/broken down", often resulted in a desultory fine.