New system of fine collection would put burden on Courts Service

Tánaiste Joan Burton
Tánaiste Joan Burton

Tánaiste Joan Burton has led renewed calls for the introduction of a new system of unpaid fine collection in Ireland following the brief and controversial imprisonment of two independent TDs.

Ms Burton said collecting fines by direct deduction from income and salaries would save An Garda Síochána and prison resources that are needed elsewhere.

However, the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT) has said such a move would not be possible without IT support from the cash-strapped Courts Service of Ireland.

Deirdre Malone, IPRT executive director, told RTÉ’s News At One: “In order to actually implement that system of repayment you need to have the appropriate IT support from the court service.

“Unfortunately, to date it hasn’t been brought in and of course the impact is that if you cannot pay the full amount when you’re required to, practical ability to pay in instalments is not yet there in terms of the IT provided by the court service.”

Supporting the move would almost certainly require additional funding for the Courts Service, which admitted this year that it was “scraping around” to meet IT needs.

Brendan Ryan, chief executive of the Courts Service, told the Oireachtas justice committee that money from its capital building programme had been used to support its IT system after the budget was cut from €9.7 million in 2008 to €4.8 million in each of the past five years.

An earlier bid by the agency for €2 million in additional funding was refused.

Share icon
Share this article: