People are paying “extremely dearly” for failing to comply with parking laws in Mullingar, according to Judge Seamus Hughes.
And they show “blatant disregard” for those rules by failing to pay for parking and then failing to appear in court.
He made the comments as he imposed fines totalling €3,500 on drivers, the majority of whom were not represented in court.
Almost €1,500 in costs were also awarded to Westmeath County Council and the judge questioned warden Joe Cronin about why there are “such litigious” traffic wardens in the town.
“Your level of prosecution is manifold that of your nearest towns,” he said, referring to Athlone and Longford.
Mr Cronin said that some people just park illegally, while council solicitor Vicky McCarthy observed that perhaps the council is “just too efficient”.
“They could pay €40 to you or €400 to the court - it just doesn’t make logical sense to me why people aren’t being more law-abiding,” he said.
The court penalty, aside from the conviction, is 10 times the on-the-spot fine.
Solicitor Vicky McCarthy said she would get some feedback for the judge on whether the charges are being paid to the council.
The fines are paid to the State.