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Image: Patricia Helowicz

Irish Rail to refund clamping fees as 'gesture of goodwill'

The cars had valid parking tickets but were not parked in marked spaces at Newbridge train station.
Nov 26th 2016, 11:59 AM 22,046 32

IRISH RAIL HAS said it will arrange a refund for drivers who were clamped when parking at Newbridge train station in Co Kildare during the week.

The cars had valid parking tickets, but were not parked in marked spaces.

Photos show that most of the clamped cars are parked along the car park’s fence so as not to block an entrance or exit.

The carpark has been busier than usual lately due to opening of the Phoenix Park Tunnel.

Local woman Patricia Helowicz told TheJournal.ie she’s been using the train station for over two years but the recent tunnel opening means the station has been “chock-a-block”.

She said the carpark was full at 8am on Wednesday and her car, along with at least 11 others, were clamped despite having permits when she returned at 2pm.

“As far as we’re considered we didn’t do anything wrong and we were penalised and fined … [The car park] was at full capacity when we got there so we made sure we found the parking spaces without obstructing anything,” she said.

‘Gesture of goodwill’

A spokesperson for Irish Rail said the station has “extensive car parking facilities with 475 spaces provided over two main car park sites”.

“With typical occupancy levels of no more than 50%, there is more than enough capacity for all customers to park in the marked spaces, and NCPS – who manage car parks on our behalf – are instructed by Iarnród Éireann to clamp cars which have not paid for parking or who do not park in marked spaces. Therefore the cars were correctly clamped.

“That said, we do acknowledge that the notable increase in demand this week following the introduction of the new Phoenix Park Tunnel services may have resulted in customers who were unfamiliar with the car park travelling, and with those used to getting spaces in the area in front of the station arriving shortly before departure.

As a gesture of goodwill, therefore, we will be arranging a refund of the clamp removal charge on this occasion only to the individuals involved who paid for parking but did not park in marked spaces. While the area is clearly marked as being one where parking is not permitted and clamping will apply, we will install new signage to highlight the availability of the secondary car park area.

“We would remind all customers the importance of allowing sufficient time to park their car in either car park prior to travel, and stress that clamping will apply as normal at all times for non-payment of parking and for parking in unmarked areas.”

Read: Local anger as row of cars clamped at “chock-a-block” train station

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Órla Ryan

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