The Minister for Transport, Martin Cullen, said this morning he is open minded about using penalty points to ensure motorists pay tolls when barriers are removed from the Westlink Bridge.

Mr Cullen said he was not happy with the current level of service for drivers at the Toll Plaza.

He was commenting after documents seen by RTÉ News showed NTR, the company that owns the toll bridge, proposed using penalty points and motor tax renewal as a way of ensuring people paid tolls when barriers are removed.

The documents, released under the Freedom of Information Act, show NTR directors made the proposals to Mr Cullen in a presentation to him last May.

The proposal is to scrap the barriers and charge drivers, perhaps by prepaid toll or electronically.

Minutes from the meeting with NTR show Mr Cullen welcomed what he called the good work by the company on the proposals .

But a spokesperson for the minister last night stressed it was an information meeting only and no final decision had been taken. 

15 years ago when the Westlink opened over 10,000 cars past through it every day, but now the figure is almost ten times that. 

There has been criticism that the toll bridge holds up traffic on a motorway originally designed to alleviate congestion.