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Clare Daly: Clamping is an easy way to make money

The TD suggested we consider banning the practice.

Image: Gareth Chaney/Photocall Ireland!

CLARE DALY HAS suggested that clamping be, eh, clamped.

The United Left Alliance TD said the initiative was introduced as a “valid contribution to the public interest” and “to stop the fella who was so brazen he parked on the yellow box”.

However, she said the practice is now a “lucrative money-spinning exercise for the local authorities against the back of massive cutbacks in their budgets”.

Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe said councils didn’t see clamping as a money-making system, as they have to pay to implement it.

She stated that clampers are faced with a dock in their wages if they fail to meet targets.

As a result, she said they “victimise” easy targets such as unsuspecting tourists, hospitals-goers, and people outside their own homes.

Daly said paying to release a car was “another stealth charge on hard-pressed motorists” who would take public transport if it was available to them.

She said, like many people, she has been caught out by a lack of prominent signage in areas where clamping is in operation.

“It’s an absolute joke,” Daly noted.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Ruth Coppinger said private companies make a lot of money by targeting people unfairly. She said she was aware of incidents where people who were dropping off samples at hospitals were clamped because their parking ticket was up by a matter of minutes – a practice she described as “hideous”.

New rules

The Dáil is currently debating legislation that, if passed, will regulate the clamping industry.

The main points of the Vehicle Clamping Bill are as follows:

  • The National Transport Authority will regulate all clamping activities
  • Maximum clamp release charges on private lands will be set
  • A two-tier appeals process will be established
  • Clear and prominent signage must be visible in areas where clamping is operated
  • Codes of practice will be established to provide practical guidance regarding compliance with regulatory requirements
  • The means of identification to be carried, displayed and presented by clamping operatives will be regulated

Fine Gael Transport Spokesman Simon Coveney If only government ministers were always there to remove clamps. Source: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

Donohoe said that while “no one enjoys being clamped”, it can be “an effective tool in ensuring that finite parking resources are not abused”.

Clamping has become more widespread in recent years, particularly in urban areas, and many people feel they are being unfairly treated either by excessive charges or a lack of proper signage indicating that clamping is in operation.

“Not having a right to appeal when they see unfairness in the system is also a cause of frustration. These issues most notably arise in privately run car parks where no regulation of clamping currently exists.”

Donohoe said that while not all TDs and Senators support the Bill, they appreciate what it is trying to do. He added that the legislation will ensure fairness and transparency for motorists.

The transport minister said he had been clamped “at least twice” and found the current appeals process “very, very frustrating, to put it mildly”.

Ever been clamped? The process is set to be overhauled

A Dublin City Council van was clamped on Grafton Street today

About the author:

Órla Ryan

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