Page last updated at 11:59 GMT, Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Parking fines to be cross-border

Parking meter
Thousands of cross-border parking tickets go unpaid every year

Motorists from Northern Ireland who get parking tickets in the Irish Republic will soon face being pursued across the border to pay their fine.

The cross-border agreement will also apply to people from the Republic who are ticketed north of the border.

Drivers from the Republic parking illegally in Northern Ireland since 2006 have avoided fines of £1.7m.

NI drivers avoiding paying for using toll roads in the Republic cost the Irish treasury 1.3m euro last year.

Cross-border authorities have agreed to share vehicle registration details to ensure that offenders can be more easily pursued through the courts.

In the Donegal town of Buncrana over 700 parking tickets were issued last year, but just 200 of them were for cars registered in the Republic.

The pilot agreement which comes into force on Wednesday involves improved information exchange between enforcement authorities on either side of the border.

Security

It will make it easier to identify and then take court action against people who fail to pay.

The Republic's Department of Transport already has a reciprocal agreement in place with the Driver and Vehicle Agency (DVA) in Northern Ireland to exchange information on issues such as motor tax and abandoned vehicles.

The Republic's Transport Minister Noel Dempsey said the information sharing will be handled using "the highest level of security".

"It is an indication of the close levels of co-operation on this project that we have overcome potential difficulties regarding data privacy and security issues in the pursuit of cross-border traffic offenders," he added.

"This is another important step in road safety and traffic enforcement and one that we are all strongly committed to."

NI Minister for Regional Development Conor Murphy has welcomed the new pilot agreement.

Mr Murphy said: "It is important that all road users adhere to parking and traffic restrictions.

"Parking control is an essential part of traffic management and road safety wherever you live on this island, and this new measure will strengthen enforcement."

The pilot scheme runs until next November.



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