Council approved residential parking permits for fake flats

Applicants secured Dublin city centre permits by claiming to live at workplace address

More than 900 streets are covered by Dublin City Council parking schemes, where people pay an annual fee to park on the streets where they live.

More than 900 streets are covered by Dublin City Council parking schemes, where people pay an annual fee to park on the streets where they live.

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A number of people obtained residential parking permits in Dublin city by claiming to live in non-existent flats at an address where they worked, an internal council audit found.

The internal Dublin City Council (DCC) audit identified a number of weaknesses which had allowed people to exploit the parking permit system.

The issues came to light during an investigation into a case where four people had been approved for on-street council parking permits, after providing residential addresses of flats that did not exist.

The audit, completed last year and seen by The Irish Times, concluded there was a “major control weakness” in the council’s system of checking permit applications.

On foot of the concerns raised by the audit, the council committed to introducing “spot checks” to catch further abuses of the permit system.

More than 900 streets are covered by DCC parking schemes, where people pay an annual fee to park on the streets where they live. Those without permits must pay an hourly rate for parking during certain times.

The audit found while the council was supposed to require two documents proving the permit applicant lived on the road, in practice one was accepted.

Audit undertaken

It also found there was no requirement for people renewing their permits to provide proof they were still living in the area.

The audit was undertaken after a member of the public wrote to the council complaining that permits had been issued to several people in “a high-demand area of the city” who did not live there. The complainant provided the registration number and model of cars believed to belong to people working near the street, who had incorrectly been approved for permits.

The internal audit team initially found two of the individuals had parking permits registered to an address “which proved to be a commercial premises with no residential units”.

A further two individuals were found to have permits registered to flats, which did not exist, at the same address.

The audit said the council’s parking and enforcement section had previously investigated the same complaint, but had failed to detect the residential addresses provided were bogus.

Proofs of residence

Following the audit, the four individuals’ parking permits were revoked by the council.

The audit recommended “regular spot checks” should be undertaken by the council, to confirm people who had permits were entitled to them.

It said the practice of only seeking one record as proof of residency “must cease with immediate effect”, as people were required to submit two proofs under the council’s own bylaws. This would “minimise the risk of non-residents obtaining permits that they are not entitled to,” the report said.

The audit only investigated permits linked to a single premises, and so could not indicate how widespread the practice may or may not be.

In response to the report, the council confirmed it would introduce random spot checks of permit holders. It said it would also require people to resubmit proof of address every four years, to ensure they still lived at the property.

A council spokeswoman said a further audit into the parking permit application process was due to take place this year.

Claire Byrne, Green Party councillor for south east inner city, said it was “disappointing” that people were attempting to game the permit system. “It’s there for people who live in the area, not those who are commuting in. If there is a loophole, it’s a good thing they are looking into it,” she said.

There was a need for an “in-depth look” into the permit system, to ensure similar instances were not widespread, she said.