Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has raised serious concerns about new plans to deduct an unpaid fine directly from a person’s wages.
 
The proposal is contained in the Fines Bill 2012, published by the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter this week.
 
“This is a half-baked proposal with no regard people’s privacy and their right to manage their own personal affairs away from the gaze of their employer,” said Deputy Collins.
 
 “We cannot have a situation where a fine incurred in a personal capacity is brought into the workplace.  If someone has an unpaid fine for a traffic violation ticket or for failure to pay their TV licence for instance, it has absolutely nothing to do with their ability to do their job and should be of no concern to employers.  Bringing these matters into the workplace is not only unnecessary; it has the potential to seriously damage the employee-employer relationship,” the Fianna Fáil Deputy said.
 
Fianna Fáil has welcomed proposals in the bill to allow people to pay fines in instalments but has said the timeframe for large fines must be extended beyond 12 months. Furthermore a punitive 10% interest rate on instalments is deeply unfair on those individuals who are struggling to pay the fine and require more time.
 
“While this Bill is welcome in broad terms, Fianna Fáil intends to propose a number of amendments to the legislation to scrap Minister Shatter’s unreasonable plans involving attachment of earnings orders, and to extend the timeframe for paying large fines by instalment and remove the punitive interest rate,” said Deputy Collins.