Greater enforcement sees 3,000 more clamps in Dublin
Appeals officer calls for doubling of clamp-release charge for persistent offenders
Clamping company DCPS was set a target by Dublin City Council to clamp 60,000 vehicles a year. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Almost 3,000 more drivers were clamped in Dublin last year than in 2012, according to the city’s parking appeals officer Bill Keilthy.
It emerged last month that clamping company Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS) had been set a target by Dublin City Council to clamp 60,000 vehicles a year.
The council had told the company it was not happy with the number of cars clamped in 2012, according to a letter sent by DSPS management to staff last year. The number of vehicles clamped, relocated or towed last year increased to 56,285, up from 53,525 in 2012, according to the annual report of the appeals officer.
While enforcement levels have increased, they are still short of the targets set by the council for the service to break even.
In his report Mr Keilthy said the standard clamp-release fee of €80, which has not risen since its introduction in 1998, would need to be increased to €130 for the cost of running the services to be met.
“By keeping the charge at 1998 levels the more than 14.5 million compliant motorists who pay for their parking are effectively subsidising the 56,285 non-compliant motorists to the tune of €50 per clamp or almost €2.8 million per annum.”
Mr Keilthy has proposed that Dublin’s most persistent illegal parkers should pay more than double the current standard clamp-release charge.
One motorist was clamped in the city 62 times over the last four years, or an average of once every three to four weeks, and has paid at least €5,000 in clamping-release fees.
Another 70 drivers have been clamped between 21 and 50 times, an analysis of registration numbers found .
Mr Keilthy said the number of “repeat offenders” indicated that the declamp fee was not an effective deterrent.
“There is, therefore, a strong case for updating the regulations to allow for tiered clamp-release fees to target persistent offenders. For example, cars clamped more than say three times in the previous 12 months could face clamp-release fees of €160. If that did not work then the council should have the right to increase this fee further.”
Some 2,894 motorists appealed to DSPS last year on the grounds that they had been unfairly or improperly clamped. The company declined 83 per cent of these appeals.
Of the 2,389 motorists whose appeals were rejected, 614 went on to appeal to Mr Keilthy. Just one third of these second-stage appeals were declined, while 37 per cent got a full refund of the clamp fee and 30 per cent got 50 per cent back.
Merrion Square West was the most clamped street in 2013 with 694 vehicles clamped over the course of the year, followed by Mespil Road (662), Dominick Street Lower (637), Ormond Quay Upper (631) and Jervis Street (597).