Independent TD Michael Healy Rae has described the doubling of fines for motoring offences as "crazy" with no consideration for the public.
Fines for 16 road safety offences — including speeding, not wearing seat belts and mobile phone use — increased from Thursday.
Speeding fines increased from €80 to €160, while fines for mobile phone use, non-wearing of seat belts, and failing to ensure that a child is properly restrained rose from €60 to €120.
The fine for a learner permit holder driving a vehicle unaccompanied by a qualified person has increased from €80 to €160. Novice and learner drivers not displaying ‘L’ or ‘N’ plates, or tabards in the case of motorcyclists, have seen their fines doubled to €120.
Three new fixed-charge notices will also come into force in the new year, relating to the misuse of a disabled parking permit (€200), illegally parking in an electric charging bay (€80) and breaching a HGV ban and entering a specified public road without a valid permit (€200).
Mr Healy Rae told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that he was totally opposed to the doubling of fines. "Because this was something that was started by the former minister for transport Shane Ross and since Shane Ross introduced the legislation at that time the amount of road deaths, very sadly, has actually increased year-on-year since that time."
The doubling of fines was to do with revenue, not with reducing deaths on the roads, he said. "I would like to see past and present ministers having to wake up to this reality that coming along and increasing penalty points, which I know is not the case now, but doubling the fines, that is not a sensible way about tackling this most serious problem.
"They just want to be seen to be doing something, but what they're doing is they're hammering our hard-pressed motorists – a person could say well I'm wrong because nobody should be incurring a fine in the first instance, well show me a perfect person and I'll say to you we're not all perfect.
"Imagine a fine going from €60 to €120, doubling the fine – what do they think? That people are made of money?"
Mr Healy Rae said the proposal was crazy. "I think it's wrong and it shows a lack of understanding by Government – number one, of the problem that we have because they're not tackling it properly and number two, they've no consideration for the people that they're there to serve."