herald

Wednesday 16 January 2019

Drunks will be able to pay court fines as they buy groceries

Individuals fined for drunk and disorderly offences will soon be able to go to their local shop and pay their court fine while purchasing their groceries.

Under a new Court Service plan unveiled, the service is seeking 480 retail outlets nationwide to participate in the new system of payment of fines with the retailers estimated to accept as many as 93,000 fine payments per annum.

Last year, the Courts Service collected over €13.75m in fines across the country with a 76pc collection rate compared to an 82pc collection rate in 2012.

Fines for motoring offences accounted for nearly half or €6.8m of the overall total.

As part of the soon-to-be-introduced system, the Courts Service is requiring that for every court venue in the country, the service provider will have in place five separate retail outlets to accept the payment of fines.

In Dublin alone under the new system, the Courts Service is demanding that the firm that will provide the service have in place 55 retailers that will allow individuals pay fines at their shops.

Cork is to have 50 retailers to accept fines from the 10 court venues in the county with Galway to have in place 40 retailers for the eight court venues there.

RETAILERS

Other counties have to have in excess of 30 retailers in place ready to accept the payment of fines include Tipperary, Mayo, Kerry and Donegal.

Counties with only one court venue such as Carlow, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford and Offaly will require only five retailers in each county to participate.

Earlier this year, the Government enacted the Fines (Payment and Recovery) Act 2014 and the Courts Service has now advertised for firms to carry out a large proportion of the administration of the system.

The over-the-counter payments of fines at the network of shops around the country is projected to be the most popular way of paying fines.

In its documentation, the Courts Service is estimating that the payment online of fines will account for 32pc (or 65,000) of fines annually, with 15pc or 30,500 to be paid by post and 7pc or 14,000 to be paid on the telephone.

hnews@herald.ie

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