Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called on the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, to engage with Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) on the proportionality of fines relating to non-payment of Toll Fees. Deputy McGrath was speaking after he obtained information in a parliamentary question that revealed that Pierce Fitzgibbon Solicitors, acting in the capacity of enforcement service provider for the M50 barrier-free tolling system, was paid fees amounting to €3million per annum for each of the last four years:
“I think most people when they hear about the level of legal fees being paid to a single firm for the collection of fines will be more than a little shocked.
The information provided to me also makes it clear that the Revenue collected by Pierce Fitzgibbon averaged about €2.6million per year for each of the last 4 years, amounting to €10.4 million.
I was reminded of just how severe the fine collection process can be when a constituent came to me after receiving a letter saying he now owed over €1200 following an initial non-payment of a toll fee that was under €20.
He had engaged with the enforcement service providers and paid two instalments of €50, and one instalment of €100.
That was literally ten times the toll fee originally owed by him.
It got to the point where he just could not afford to pay the monthly fine.
Despite this, fines of €150 kept accumulating despite my constituent’s insistence that he could not pay and was also trying to deal with a restructured mortgage.
Thankfully, and only after intervention from my office, did Pierce Fitzgibbon acting as enforcement providers, finally accept repayment of €30 per month for the €1247 fine.
It is cases like these that highlight the need for some kind of review of the proportionality surrounding the accumulation of Toll Fee Fines and indeed the millions in legal fees that are being generated on an annual basis,” concluded Deputy McGrath.