Only seven per cent of offenders who fail to pay fines face sanction
Only seven per cent of offenders who refuse to pay court fines face a sanction, according to new figures.
According to Courts Service correspondence released to the Irish Examiner under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation, 34,767 enforcement notices involving 25,474 people have been issued in relation to the non-payment of fines since January 2016.
However, only ten per cent of offenders showed up to enforcement hearings and less than seven per cent were sanctioned.
In a letter to the Department of Justice, Courts Service official Margaret O’Neill said an “incalculable” amount of time was being wasted by the courts.
The email, dated June 2018, states: “Overall, an enormous amount of time, both court and office, is being taken up on issuing, processing, and resulting these cases for no benefit to anyone.
“Very few of the outstanding fines are being paid and, because the majority of people are not turning up for the enforcement hearing, no penalty at all is being applied.
“The whole process is increasingly futile and needs to be reviewed urgently.”
Ms O’Neill concluded: “The waste of court/judicial time and Courts Service time and resources is incalculable for a collection rate of barely 10 per cent.”