THOUSANDS OF INVALID TRAFFIC FINES ISSUED; Council knew four years of penalties were illegitimate.
A COUNCIL knew thousands of traffic fines issued over four years were illegitimate, it emerged yesterday.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown authority's 2007 bye-laws failed to include a reference to a particular road signage code, RRM016, meaning all fines issued under it are invalid.
The Irish Daily Mirror has learned officials made attempts to rectify the legislation. At a meeting in November 2010, a motion to amend the bye-laws was raised.
A separate motion to conduct a public consultation on the issue, as required to give bye-laws legal standing, was rejected at the same meeting.
According to the minutes: "It is also proposed to amend the Parking Control Bye-Laws to include specific reference to RRM016, which is not specified in the current bye-laws." This amendment was coupled with proposals to increase the price of visitor parking permits.
Councillor Victor Boyhan proposed that the amendment be put to a public consultation.
That motion was seconded by Cllrs Richard Boyd Barrett, Cormac Devlin and Hugh Lewis.
Mr Boyhan proposed: "That the council commence a period of public consultation on the proposed changes to the current pay and display prior to a final decision by Council."
The motion was defeated by 17 votes to eight. The motion to include the amendment was then carried by 19 votes to seven.
On January 1, 2011, the Council introduced the amendment: "At Paragraph 4 - Interpretation. The definition "pay parking place" shall include road marking RRM016.
For a bye-law to be legally binding the authority must inform the public allowing them to make representations, they must consult with the Garda Commissioner and there must be public consultation.
On August 4, 2012, the council published a notice on its website informing the public - a year and nine months after it was introduced.
In a statement to this newspaper, the council denied that there was any flaw in the bye-laws.
However, the Irish Mirror has obtained a legal letter, sent on the council's behalf, cancelling a court summons for fines, dated December 5, 2011.
It stated the party was due to appear in Dun Laoghaire District Court on December 9, 2011.
It added the offence took place on December 3, 2010, almost a full month after the amendment to the bye-law had been passed.
But as the amendment did not come into law until January 1, 2011, the council knew that it had been seeking to prosecute an act that was not unlawful at the relevant time, since the law cannot be applied retrospectively.
A council spokesman stated the Garda Commissioner was consulted on the amendment.
They also admitted some tickets had been cancelled, but this had been done as a "goodwill gesture".
OFFICIAL Letter showing fines which were quashed