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338 cars clamped in Dublin for parking in disabled space in first half of year

Parking in this spots when you don’t actually need to is not only illegal, it makes life very difficult for people who have disabilities.

Image: Sean Dempsey

IN THE FIRST six months of this year in Dublin city, there were 338 vehicles clamped for illegally parking in a disabled bay.

According to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request, numbers in the second and third biggest cities, were lower than this but groups representing the disabled say more needs to be done to address it.

In Limerick, 84 fines were issued in the most recent six months period and in Cork, 151 fines were issued for parking in disabled parking spaces.

Speaking to TheJournal.ie, Keith Hayes Disability Co-ordinator for Enable Ireland said he believes that, for the most part, people do respect the spaces.

However Hayes, who is a wheelchair user himself, said this could just be because they know that parking inspectors about and they want to avoid the €80 fine if they get caught.

For him, “shopping centres are the worst places” when it comes people without disabled stickers parking in those spots.

“I presume it’s because there is less chance to get caught as they don’t seem to enforce the regulations,” he said. For a person with a physical disability, and for those in wheelchairs in particular, having spaces taken up by those who don’t really need them can make things extremely difficult.

The disabled parking spots are usually a bit longer and wider to get that extra space so if you park accessible vehicle in the non-disabled parking you are limited with the space and can be very difficult or even impossible to get out and back in. Also if the disabled parking bay is taken you might have to park further away from the destination and in case of a person with mobility difficulties it will make it that harder for them.

A spokesperson for the charity, said it’s a “pet hate for lots of people” when spaces are misused and it has seen some lively discussions about it on our Facebook page in the past.

These are just some of the comments on a post about a woman being banned from driving for six months for parking in a disabled spot.

In July, a teenager in Limerick was also banned from driving for five months after parking is car across two disabled parking spaces.

“The message is really getting out there that if you park in an accessible space, meaning a person who needs that space cannot park, you are essentially cutting off access to that entire shop, restaurant, town or village to that person,”Enable Ireland said. “It’s something that most right minded people are not slow to challenge and that’s commendable.”

The charity also said there is a need in general for more spaces anyway.

“For this, we need to talk to business owners and town and city councils and impress upon them that people with disabilities are their customers, or at least they have the potential to be if they can metaphorically open their doors to them,” it said. “More spaces will mean more customers.”

Poll: Own up… Have you ever parked in a disabled space?>

More: Lorainne Higgins criticised after campaign van parked in a disabled space>

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