The Minister for Justice has announced that there is going to be radical overhaul of the way in which Court Fines are paid.
The law, as it stands, dictates that fines cannot be paid in installments but in one sum. This has now proven to be completely impractical and almost impossible to enforce.
When a person is fined by a Court, they have a specific period of time within which to pay the fine. If they do not pay the fine, then they are liable to serve a term of imprisonment. This is the way that fines have been imposed and enforced for generations. Where people do not pay the fines, it means that members of An Garda Siochana have to try and track them down and bring them to the local prison. In turn, the Prison Governor has to find a place for the non-fine payer.
This is a huge waste of resources and complaints have been made about it for many years.
In 2014, 8,140 people had to be arrested by the Gardai and brought to prisons for non-payment of fines.
The Department of Justice has now decided that provision is going to be made for the payment of fines in installments. This means that the fine can be broken up and paid in smaller sums on a more regular basis.
It is expected that legislation will be introduced shortly to bring this about and bring some common sense to the whole payment of fines system.