Van driver faces €13k in unpaid tolls

A van driver has brought an action to set aside a court judgement which found him liable for €13,000 in unpaid M50 toll charges.

Simon Parsons of New Haven Bay, Balbriggan, Co Dublin, had been the subject of a Dublin District Court ruling in October following an action by the National Roads Authority (NRA). His car was also seized and sold on as a result of the order.

He was not present to defend the case in October leading to a judgement in default amounting to €13,208 plus €1,004 in legal costs.

However, Mr Parsons claims he does not owe that much.

On December 6 last year, his Opel Corsa was seized by the Dublin County Sheriff and was sold in January to recoup some of the money sought by the NRA.

The sheriff had thought he would get €5,000 for the car but it was sold for €1,100. The involvement of the sheriff also operated as loss for the NRA, the court also heard.

Solicitor Sean Foley, for Mr Parsons, read his client’s affidavit at the district court yesterday in a bid to have the judgement set aside.

The court heard Mr Parsons needed his car to bring his partner, who suffers from cerebral palsy, to medical appointments.

The court heard he suffered from depression and a psychiatric report was furnished to the judge.

He was not able to use a computer and he argued the e-flow system discriminated against people with limited ability.

In his affidavit, he also argued that the NRA was profiteering by allowing charges to amount to this level.

He also claimed that he paid the tolls at a Topaz garage and he had all his receipts for every time he used the M50, which incurs a €3.10 charge.

In response, Thomas Rice BL (instructed by Pierse Fitzgibbon Solicitors) for the NRA, asked the judge to note that Mr Parsons had been served with a civil claim notice in July.

He did not respond to the proceedings and important legal documents and voluminous correspondence from the NRA were ignored until after his car was seized in December.

Counsel said the NRA has reviewed their footage and can say that Mr Parsons paid for 207 journeys on the M50 but had not paid for 210 trips.

Mr Rice said that 140,000 motorists use the motorway and having a pay-station on it defeated its purpose.

Judge Brennan adjourned the case until May.

He said that Mr Parsons had “sat on his hands” until his car was seized.

The psychological report was also based on one meeting with Mr Parsons and there was no IQ score.

However, Judge Brennan said he was granting the adjournment for Mr Parsons to produce his documentation to be inspected by the NRA, otherwise he was finding against him.



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