Fianna Fáil Deputy Jackie Cahill is claiming that court fines for criminal offences are not acting as a deterrent, and new enforcement measures are needed to ensure future collection.

“I am calling on the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald to ensure the Courts Service has the necessary power to collect fines that have been ordered for collection by it,” said the Fianna Fáil TD.

Deputy Cahill made his comments following his receipt of a Parliamentary Question, and reply, from the Minister in which he found that over €374,000 is currently outstanding in Tipperary alone.

“By October 20th, there were 1428 uncollected fines for criminal offences in Tipperary, totalling €374,911. In 2015, an additional €391,138 was uncollected.”

“In the past four years, including the first 10 months of 2016, nearly €1.1 million was uncollected.”

“What’s very concerning is that the amount left uncollected has more than doubled between 2013/2014 and 2015/2016. This is a very worrying trend, as it backs up suggestions that the manner in which fines for Criminal Offences are collected is not being taken seriously by some offenders, added Cahill.

“This is a sizable sum of money that could, and should, have been put to good use by the State.”

“In another question to the Minister, I asked what system was in place to ensure that fines are paid. While the Minister is no doubt confident that Attachment Orders and Recovery Orders will help collect fines, the figures received by me show otherwise.”

“Unless we find stronger, more robust, ways of enforcing court fines, many more thousands of euro will remain uncollected. This isn’t good enough. If people know that they can get away with not paying fines, what’s the point of issuing them?” concluded Cahill.