Motorists face clamping charge rise as council asks for hike in hated fee
Motorists in Dublin could be about to see dreaded clamping release fees rise, if the Minister for Transport Paschal Donohoe grants Dublin City Council's request.
The Council has written to the Minister to seek an increase in the fee in line with the Consumer Price Index.
City councillors made their recommendation following a consultant's report, which pointed out that current charges have not increased since 1998.
A spokeswoman for the council confirmed: "It was decided to write to the Minister to seek an increase in the fee in line with the Consumer Price Index."
However, the final decision on any increase will rest with the minister.
The council is making an annual loss on clamping of €2.8m - despite hitting 56,000 motorists last year.
Dublin's motorists already pay some of the heftiest fines in Europe for illegal parking.
However, Dublin City Council's parking appeals officer, Bill Keilthy, has said that the price has not been increased since 1998 and is "no longer a deterrent to illegal parking".
He recommended an increase in the clamping release fee from the current €80 to €130.
Speaking yesterday on RTE Drivetime, councillor Ciaran Cuffe disagreed with the amount of the suggested increase.
"I wouldn't support an increase to €130 but €100 would be reasonable since it hasn't been increased since 1998," he said.
Similarly, councillor Deirdre Heney said she would prefer to see context be brought into any potential hike.
"For instance if a motorist is parked in a clearway or disrupting traffic they should receive a greater fine," she explained.
"On the other side, if a motorist is parked in a designated space and runs a few minutes over meter then they should not receive such a harsh fine."
The Department of Transport spokeswoman pointed out the Vehicle Clamping Bill 2014, which is passing through the legislation process, makes provision for fines of up to €5,000 to be levied on operators who charge too high a vehicle-release fee.
The proposed measures will regulate the activity on private property such as hospital and apartment car parks.
The bill makes it illegal to clamp ambulances, fire engines or garda squad cars on private property when the vehicles are being used in the course of their duty.