Dáil Éireann - Volume 390 - 16 May, 1989
Written Answers. - Payment of Fines.
Mr. J. Mitchell Mr. J. Mitchell
49. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Justice if, in respect of fines imposed on persons totally dependent on social welfare payments or low pay for their livelihood, he will make arrangements for the repayment of these fines over a period by way of issuing a fines repayment book similar to a savings book in order that the fine will be paid by the weekly acquisition of a savings stamp; whether he has considered such a proposition or any variation of it; his views on the fact that the imposition of fines on persons depending solely on social welfare or low pay can cause grievous hardship, frequently ending in imprisonment of those who have never known prison before thereby costing the State extra money; his views on the fact that an alternative to this is long overdue; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Minister for Justice (Mr. Collins) Gerard Collins
Minister for Justice (Mr. Collins): The question of introducing a system to allow for the payment of fines by instalments is under review in my Department at present in the context of improving the fines collection system in general. The benefits detailed in the question will be among those which will be taken into account in that review. I should point out, however, that a change to instalment payments would require legislation. It would require additional staffing in the courts service which, having regard to current restrictions on staffing in the public service, would present a serious difficulty.
In considering this whole area account must be taken of the fact that courts generally have regard to the means of defendants when fixing fines, allow a reasonable period of time for the payment of fines and may, on application, allow an extended period of time for payment.
Dáil Éireann 390 Written Answers. Payment of Fines.