Galway City Council has said it plans to proceed with pursuing over 340 city drivers for parking fines, despite the cases being dismissed by the courts earlier this week.
The local authority was left red-faced when a judge at Galway District Court highlighted that the correct traffic act was not included in summonses to city drivers who were prosecuted for traffic offences, and dismissed the cases in full.
This led to the council being slammed by local Cllr Padraig Conneely, who said the city could now face up to €40,000 in legal costs as a result of their failure to prosecute.
“This is unacceptable incompetence on behalf of Director of Services Ciaran Hayes that the council should make such an error and could possibly now cost the city €40,000 in legal costs. Eleven members of Galway City Council staff were in court, a waste of a day for the staff,” he said.
However, a spokesperson for Galway City Council told the Galway Independent this week that the judge in question had informed the local authority that they could reissue the summonses and continue to pursue the traffic fines.
“The situation arose during a recent sitting of the Special Traffic Court, where the judge took issue with the content of the summonses sent out. The judge then declined to deal with the cases but did give leave to Galway City Council to take further action on the offences. We are currently seeking clarification regarding the issue of legal costs,” said the spokesperson.
Mr Hayes hit out at Cllr Conneely’s handling of the situation, saying it was not an “appropriate way to do business”.
“It’s very disappointing that a city councillor drew conclusions on the matter in the absence of the full information or any consultation with city officials. It’s premature to draw any conclusions at this stage until legal advice is received.”
The council also confirmed that the parking fines were worth “in the region of €30,000” to the city and it “could not afford” to waive this income.