More than €15m in court fines uncollected for offences in 2017

Some 32% of the fines were imposed for burglary offences

More than €15m in court fines uncollected for offences in 2017

Photo: Sam Boal/RollingNews.ie

There are calls for more robust measures to collect court-imposed fines, as figures show over €15m were uncollected last year.

Fianna Fáil's justice spokesperson Jim O'Callaghan has claimed that unless more is done to collect the fines, there will be no reduction in the number of criminal offences.

He has called on the Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to ensure the Courts Service has the adequate resources to collect fines.

Deputy O'Callaghan received information, through a Parliamentary Question, which revealed that €15,533,183.30 in fines imposed on 45,720 criminals by the courts last year are currently outstanding and remain uncollected.

He said: "Last year I was made aware of the almost €50m worth of court fines which were uncollected between 2011 and 2016.

"I had hoped that the system would have been strengthened - but the latest figures I have received indicate that over €15m in court imposed fines were not collected in 2017.

"This is a trend that cannot be allowed continue as it disrespects the victims of crimes in Ireland and is a sizable sum of money that could and should be invested by the State in the more effective provision of public services."

He added: "The primary purpose of the Fines Act 2014 is to reduce the number of people being sent to prison for the non-payment of fines.

"If 45,720 convicted criminals can get away with not paying fines and are not vigorously pursued, then there appears no purpose in issuing those fines in the first instance."

The deputy said that over 140 of those convicted who have not paid were convicted for a serious burglary offence.