Clamp release fees in Dublin city should be increased by nearly half and repeat offenders should face punitive fines to force a change in behaviour, the city’s independent parking appeals officer has said.
Liam (Bill) Kielthy was speaking after figures which showed on-street clamping, towing or relocation of vehicles brought in just over €4 million for the city council in 2015 – the lowest amount in five years.
Despite criticism from motorists about the size of existing fines, the local authority said fines raise less than two-thirds of the €6.8 million paid by the city to clamping company Dublin Street Parking Services.
Clamping fees, which have not been changed since 1998, should rise by €50 to €130 per vehicle with the prospect of doubling the amount for repeat offenders, said Mr Kielthy.
The fines are clearly not a deterrent for some, he said. One offender was clamped 64 times in 48 months. However, Mr Kielthy insisted that the ambition is to force drivers to change habits, not to raise revenue.
According to figures released by Dublin City Council, contractor Dublin Street Parking Services clamped 54,068 vehicles in 2015, with motorists required to pay €80 a day to have their vehicles released.
While revenue from clamping falls short of paying for the operating cost of the clamping service, drivers paid €25.4 million in 2015, and €122 million over the last five years, in on-street parking charges to Dublin City Council.
The capital’s most clamped street was Upper Ormond Quay where 754 vehicles were clamped in 2015. The city’s central business district and “brass plate” office area continued to feature prominently in the annual clamping figures, with Mespil Road in second place with 723 vehicles clamped.
Merrion Square West, which features the Leinster Lawn entrance to Leinster House, fell in the rankings to sixth most clamped location, with 581 vehicles immobilised.