Woman shells out €5,000 in parking fines

A WOMAN has had to remortgage her home to pay a massive backlog of parking fines, a court heard yesterday.

Michelle Coughlan was facing the prospect of more than 200 summonses for parking offences in Cork city.

However, she walked into City Hall at lunchtime yesterday and handed over a bank draft for €5,000. Solicitor Diarmuid Kelleher, who represented Ms Coughlan, said that raising the money involved re-mortgaging her home.

Mr Kelleher told Judge Con O’Leary that the young woman from Carraig Row, Mitchelstown, Co Cork, had finally cleared her slate with Cork Corporation by handing over the money.

Judge Con O’Leary said he was prepared to give the defendant the benefit of a dismissal under the Probation of Offenders Act at Cork District Court.

However, at that point, solicitor Anthony Murphy, representing the parking fines section of Cork Corporation, said that there were 23 fresh summonses before the court yesterday which were not covered by Ms Coughlan’s payment of €5,000.

Judge O’Leary said: “She has paid €5,000 to Cork City Council. In my judicial view that is adequate and I will apply the Probation Act on all matters before the court.”

Mr Kelleher said it was a case that had cost the defendant dearly as she had to put up her home as security to raise a loan to clear the parking fines debt.

Ms Coughlan had received a huge number of parking tickets for parking her car at South Mall, Cork, over a long period of time.

Ms Coughlan had previously appeared in connection with the fines at Cork District Court a month ago. During that appearance, Judge O’Leary said: “I have been looking forward to meeting Ms Coughlan for a long time. Her name appears in the parking court more than anybody else.”

However, on that occasion, Mr Kelleher had requested that the case be adjourned until yesterday.

He said at that point Ms Coughlan was in negotiation with Cork Corporation about the money she owed. The amount of money involved did not emerge last month but Mr Kelleher said the fact that she was extending her mortgage gave some indication of the amount involved. As the matter was being dealt with yesterday, Mr Murphy claimed that Cork City Council had not received payment of €5,000 from Ms Coughlan.

However, she produced a receipt for the judge and Mr Murphy then accepted the money had been paid.

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