Almost €36 million in fines left uncollected in the last four years

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

Almost €36 million in fines left uncollected in the last four years

File photo of Euro notes and coins | Image: Niall Carson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Almost €36 million worth of fines were left uncollected in the last four years.

An estimated €35,918,923 remains outstanding. Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan TD is calling for the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald to ensure that the Courts Service has the necessary resources to collect fines that have been ordered for collection by it for offences.

"What’s very concerning is that the amount left uncollected more than doubled between 2014 and 2015. This is a very worrying trend, and we need to increase collection rates," added O’Callaghan.

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

The Fines Act 2014, which came into effect earlier this year aimed to reduce the number of people imprisoned for non-payment of fines.

Some 8,140 people were jailed for non-payment in 2014 – the last year for which figures are available – with the majority spending less than a day in prison.

"Without stronger, more robust, ways of enforcing court fines, many more thousands of euro will remain uncollected", Mr O'Callaghan said. "This is not good enough. If people know that they can get away with not paying fines, there is little point in issuing them.

"If those issued a fine are refusing to pay, the Government must look at collecting these fines automatically.