Dublin car clamping yields €4.2m in fines

155 cars clamped daily in capital, says Sinn Féin transport spokesman Dessie Ellis

the five main city councils in Ireland collected parking income of almost €50 million in 2013, said Independent Socialist TD Clare Daly. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

the five main city councils in Ireland collected parking income of almost €50 million in 2013, said Independent Socialist TD Clare Daly. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Clamping of vehicles in Dublin has generated annual income of €4.2 million in fines, the Dáil has heard.

Sinn Féin transport spokesman Dessie Ellis said 155 cars a day were clamped in the capital, a total of 56,601 over a 12-month period.

He said the only merit of clamping was to discourage drivers from parking illegally and it should not be used for its own sake or for financial gain. “In some cases it might be better not to clamp a car, despite an infringement, in the interests of allowing traffic to flow as freely as possible.”

Independent Socialist Clare Daly said the five main city councils in Ireland collected parking income of almost €50 million in 2013.

She said that because of the financial gains to be made, clampers who carry out work for Dublin City Council “were being put under unbearable pressure to achieve targets for fines and clamping, and that completely stands on its head the principle of what clamping should be about”.

She welcomed some regulation. “I would prefer to see a situation where we are either greatly restricting the ability of clampers to engage in their activity or even banning clamping outright.”

Ms Daly said parking fines and clamping were a lucrative business and they represented “part of the process of the privatisation of public space”.

The two TDs were speaking during debate on legislation to regulate all clamping wherever it takes place. The Vehicle Clamping Bill, already passed in the Seanad, was introduced by Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe.

It sets the maximum charge of €100 for clamping and €50 for vehicle relocation.

Proper signage

Anyone who attempts to charge more faces a fine on summary conviction of up to €4,000, while a “parking controller” who fails to provide proper signage is liable to a summary conviction fine of up to €2,500.

Mr Donohoe said the Bill “will cater for all scenarios in which a vehicle is clamped, whether by a local authority, a State body, an individual or a contracted party such as a clamping operator on public or private land”.

He warned that the Bill’s provisions “must be complied with” and they included regulation in a “non-discriminatory and proportionate manner across the public and private sectors”.

Fianna Fáil transport spokesman Timmy Dooley praised former minister for transport Leo Varadkar for the approach taken in developing the Bill.

This approach included consultation from the outset, listening to the various stakeholders, “allowing all of us in a collective way to put our best thoughts together and feed that back to the department officials and trying to come up with a comprehensive solution”.

Mr Dooley welcomed the inclusion of a limit on clamping charges.He said there were “some outrageous practices, particularly in apartment complexes and other private properties where in essence it was an effort by the owner to abuse the position they had”.