A judge has banned a motorist from driving for six months after the driver's car was found parked in a disabled parking space in Ennis, Co Clare.
At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan said that Andrew Ryan of Bridge Court, Tulla Rd, Ennis "should be ashamed of himself" after his 02 registered car was found to be parked in a disabled parking spot in Ennis on May 5th of this year at the town's Parnell Street car park.
Judge Durcan said that Mr Ryan has "a boorish nature" and that his behaviour in parking his car in the disabled parking spot "is contemptible".
“Parking bays for disabled people are provided for by local authorities for a particular purpose and thankfully today, we have modern technology and engineering that enables disabled people to use motor vehicles,” the judge said.
Judge Durcan said that to add further to his attitude, Mr Ryan has not bothered to turn up in court.
The judge banned Mr Ryan from driving for six months by way of ancillary order and also imposed a €750 fine on the man.
Disability rights campaigner Dermot Hayes welcomed the judge's ruling.
“We are sick and tired of drivers abusing these designated spaces for disabled parking. We have fought long and hard to get designated parking spaces in towns and villages across Co Clare and beyond,” he said.
“There can be no excuse for drivers as the spaces are so well marked,” he added. He hoped the ruling would act as a deterrant to others.
Mr Hayes put able bodied drivers parking in disabled car spaces down “to ignorance and the ‘just a minute’ syndrome”.
He said: “In some cases, motorists don’t give a damn. Traffic wardens should be given the power to clamp the cars concerned.”
Automobile Association corporate affairs manager Conor Faughnan said: "To park in a car park space for disabled motorists is appalling behaviour. It is very difficult to have any sympathy in such a case especially when the driver doesn't turn up in court."
However he said relative to penalties for other motoring offences it was “a pretty severe punishment.”