Ireland’s Lord of the parking fines runs up an unpaid bill of more than €40,000

A SINGLE driver has run up unpaid parking fines of more than €40,000 in the leafy suburbs of Dublin.

Details released by Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council reveal how nine separate drivers have amassed bills of at least €7,000 each, sometimes for hundreds of individual offences.

An anonymised list of the worst offenders show that the top nine have ran up a combined unpaid bill of €147,400 in unpaid fines.

The person with the worst record has refused to pay no less than 668 fines, which together come to €40,080.

Fines are charged at the rate of €60 in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown with a higher punishment of €120 applying to those who park in a disabled bay.

The serial offender – with the €40,000 bill – has at least only run up ordinary fines, and has not yet been caught using a disabled space.

The local authority said their parking nemesis had 22 convictions relating to unpaid parking fines and eight separate bench warrants.

They said: “A court has the power to either issue a warrant for arrest or to disqualify the accused from driving. The Council has no authority to enforce such court orders.”

Another individual owes €28,800 for 473 offences, which works out at an average of just over €60.

That means he, or she, has at least once been discovered to have parked in a space designated for people with disabilities.

The next worst serial offender has ran up unpaid fines of €21,540 (359 offences) more than double that of the person in fourth, who owes €10,440 (174).

Another owes €14,320 after being caught 127 times, and in the overwhelming majority of cases it was for use of a disabled parking bay.

The council said they actively pursued pursue non-payers through the courts and during the past three years have secured more than 2,700 convictions.

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown’s compliance levels have been rising in recent years and in 2016, they reached their highest rate with 78% of those fined paying up.

That was up from a low of 68% in 2013 when a total of 22,065 parking fines were issued.

The council said: “It should be noted that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has a policy of pursuing non-payment of fixed charge offence notices through legal proceedings [or] legal action in the District Court.

“In action taken against the above offenders, two vehicles were removed and disposed of in accordance with the appropriate legislation. Two registered owners of vehicles were disqualified from driving through District Court proceedings and multiple convictions have been secured against offenders.”

They also said their compliance rate was in reality higher when unregistered vehicles – usually from abroad – were excluded.

Over the course of the past five years, the local authority has issued just over 120,000 parking fees, which would at a conservative estimate have yielded €7.2 million in revenue had every one of them been paid.

In South Dublin County Council, the problem of repeat offenders does not seem to have been quite so pronounced.

However, enforcement rates are lower there and have hovered between 60 and 70 per cent over the past six years, according to records.

In the South Dublin local authority area, fines are also cheaper at €40, which increases to €60 if not paid after 28 days. Parking in a disabled space incurs an €80 fine. It also jumps after the four week limit to €120.

According to the county council, their worst offender owes €4,640 in fines, with the next highest person at €3,280.

In total, their ten worst cases owe a combined €24,600, significantly lower than the top individual offender in neighbouring Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown.

Enforcement rates in the South Dublin area were just 61% in 2011 and reached their peak the following year when they hit 70%.

Last year, 68% of people in the area who were given a fine paid up either immediately or for the higher amount that kicks in after four weeks.

Dublin City Council do not issue parking fines and instead rely on the infinitely more persuasive use of clamping to keep drivers in line.

Despite its success, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown have said they will not be using clamps and will continue their efforts to pursue non-payers through the courts.

Details of parking fines issued in the fourth Dublin local authority, Fingal County Council, have not yet been made available.

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