The introduction of new fines for illegal parking on footpaths, bus lanes and cycle lanes have been endorsed by Dublin City Council's traffic committee.
The on-the-spot fines will be just €40, half the current Dublin city clamping charge. However, the council’s traffic department said, the fines will “complement” rather than replace clamping in the city.
Parking enforcement officer Dermot Stevenson told the committee that the fines would be issued for the specific offences of blocking clearways, cycle tracks and bus lanes; footpath parking; non-commercial parking in loading bays; and illegal coach parking.
Footpath parking in particular was “endemic” in Dublin, Mr Stevenson said.
While clamping would continue to be used he said, it was not always the best option for stopping the obstruction of foot paths and cycle or bus lanes.
“Clamping the offending vehicle ensures that the disruption to the bus or bike lane continues until such time as the owner returns and pays the fine and has the clamp removed and so in general is not the preferred option.”
The option of relocating the vehicle to another area involved waiting on a tow truck, which gave the offending motorist time to drive away without penalty he said.
Similarly he said, when one vehicle is clamped, other motorists committing the offence drove away before clamps could be applied to their vehicles.
"This has brought Dublin City Council to the conclusion that an additional form of enforcement is required," he said.
The fines will be implemented by the council’s clamping contractor DSPS, with around 10 per cent of workers being authorised to issue fines as an alternative to clamping. DSPS will be paid extra for the service, but the fee had yet to be finalised Mr Stevenson said.
The system would be introduced on a 12 month trial basis later this year if it is approved by the full city council next month.
Independent councillor Mannix Flynn was the only member of the traffic committee to speak against the motion, describing the fines as a "cash grab" and calling for a "stay of execution" on the measure until next year.
“I’m a stickler when it comes to unlawful parking and the hindrance to pedestrians etc, etc, but you’ve got a situation in the city now with bicycle tracks where parking is almost impossible for people now to nip in and get a bit of messages,” Mr Flynn said.