Irish border areas prove pain for collecting speed fines
Border areas have emerged as major blackspots for the Garda in issuing summonses to speeding motorists, it has emerged.
The Irish Independent reports today that the scale of the problem is so big that Garda management has been forced to set up a group to examine the issue.
The force says several factors, including inaccurate address information, contribute to the problem.
Irish Courts Service data shows that of 66,800 speeding cases listed in the courts between January 2015 and October 2016, some 30,600 - or 45.8% - were struck out as summonses were never served on the defendants.
The problem was most acute in the Manorhamilton area of Co Leitrim, close to the border with Fermanagh, where 84 out of 99 summonses - some 85% - were not served.
Another summons service 'blackspot' is Carrickmacross, Co Monaghan - just a few miles from Co Armagh.
Co Monaghan had the highest percentage of incidents of cases being struck out (61%) - 876 speeding cases between January 2015 to October 2016, of which 535 summonses were not served. Donegal had a strike out rate of 50% and Cavan of 48%.
Tanaiste and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald said her officials were seeking clarification on the "significant percentage" of cases being struck out for non-service.
She revealed a working group had been set up in An Garda Siochana to examine how the service rate can be improved and to monitor the level of service around the country. Ms Fitzgerald said there were challenges to serving summonses in certain circumstances.
These included situations where there was "inaccurate address data, persons moving address, or living in multi-occupancy dwellings or other settings which make service difficult".
"In addition, certain persons will take steps to evade service.
"Similar difficulties are experienced by many other police forces," she added.
The PARC Road Safety Group, which has carried out an analysis of the data, said urgent action was needed as the non-service rate was inexplicably high.
Other Irish Courts Service data released by Ms Fitzgerald indicated many motorists who were convicted of speeding offences may have avoided penalty points by not producing their licence in court.
Although it is an offence in the Republic not to produce your licence, it has not been regularly enforced, and there have been difficulties securing prosecutions.