Gardaí refuse to issue car tax fines

Gardaí will refuse to issue fines for motor tax offences from today as part of a ratcheting up of their pay row with the Government.

Legally, gardaí have discretion on whether or not to issue fines for minor road offences, namely in relation to tax and illegal parking.

More than 36,000 fines for failure to display a tax disk are paid on average every year, generating over €2m for the State.

Members of the Garda Representative Association have decided that from today, they will exercise their discretion and not issue fines for revenue-generating offences.

GRA bosses have said this decision had come from members and was neither a proposal, nor an instruction, from the GRA executive.

“Our members have decided to use their discretion in relation to revenue-gathering offences,” said GRA president John Parker. “That will take effect from Friday, Mar 8.”

Drivers are legally obliged to display a valid tax disk. Failure to do so can result in a €60 fixed-charge fine, which if not paid, can result in a court prosecution.

However, gardaí can exercise discretion and can take into account a range of factors such as the length of time the tax is out, or whether the car is new.

Checks on the display of a disc are carried out during routine Garda activity and at checkpoints.

Gardaí issued more than 240,000 fines for failure to display a tax disc between 2008 and 2011. Figures indicate 60%, or 144,000 fines, were paid, generating €8.6m for the State.

It is not known the extent to which all rank-and-file gardaí will refuse to issue the fines or whether there will be different approaches in garda divisions.

The discretion also extends to illegal parking, though the policing of that is mainly carried out by traffic wardens.

The GRA already announced it was turning off the “goodwill tap” of work they traditionally did for the force outside what was required of them.

Members no longer use their own personal equipment, including cars, mobile phones, laptops or cameras, for work, and are no longer volunteering for “non-public” overtime, such as for sports events and concerts.


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