Proposal to raise clamping fine to €130 is 'wrong'
THE €80 clamping fine should be increased to €130, according to Dublin City Council's parking appeal's officer.
Bill Keilthy has said the fine has not increased since 1998 and is no longer a deterrent to illegal parking.
He was speaking as the City Council revealed that 56,000 motorists had their vehicles clamped last year.
The system is also costing more money in Dublin than it makes.
Clamping services cost €7m but the revenue it brings in is only €4.2m, with Mr Keilthy saying law-abiding motorists are subsidising clamping through the charges they pay for on-street parking.
Figures show more than 2,300 drivers have been clamped between four and 50 times over the past four years with one person caught 55 times - an average of once every three to four weeks and at a cost of €4,400 in total if the €80 clamping fee is applied.
The same offender would have to pay more than €7,000 if the fee for clamp release was €130.
Just over 5pc of people who were clamped lodged appeals, and one in four of those got a full or partial refund.
This is not the first time the parking appeals officer has called for a €50 hike in clamping fees. Mr Keilthy made a similar request in June 2011 in a letter to then Transport Minister Leo Varadker.
Reacting to the report Lord Mayor Christy Burke said he found the proposed increase unacceptable.
"To increase what is already a high charge when people are already facing more charges and expenses in life is wrong," Mr Burke told the Herald.
"I accept there has to be a charge, and that people who do not obey the pay-and-display rules need to know there are penalties," he explained.
"But a €130 fine on people who may be genuinely bringing someone to a hospital or attending a medical appointment, delivering meals-on-wheels, or a doctor on a call, is wrong," he said.
"I would resist this proposed increase. The current sanction of €80 is high enough, it's what a lot of my constituents are living on a week."
Mr Burke said most clampers are private companies and he knows that the cost of clamping exceeds the revenue it generates.
"We can't expect the people of Dublin to have to pay for the profits of a private company if it is not taking in enough money to cover itself," he said.
"Anyone who does not pay and display, especially in prominent areas, is asking for trouble but increasing the fine is not right," he added.
More vehicles were clamped in Dublin on a Saturday than on a Monday last year, while Sundays are traditionally the quietest day due to reduced parking restrictions.
The months of October, November and February saw the highest number of clamps, while the lowest number occurred during December, April and August.
The most likely time of day to get clamped is between 8 to 9am and 1 to 2pm, while the least likely is 3 to 4pm.
Around 10pc of all clamps are issued after 7pm with one unlucky motorist having their vehicle clamped on Camden Street at 4am.
The top hot-spots for clamping are Merrion Square, Mespil Road, Ormonde Quay Upper, Jervis Street, Wolfe Tone Street, North Lotts, Burlington Road, Merrion Square South, Molesworth Street and Hatch Street.
While clamping is loss-making in Dublin city, it is a profitable exercise in other areas of the country.
Last year, Cork City Council took in €8.64m from parking, of which €4.6m was paid to run parking services and the remaining €4m went to back into the council's budget.
Galway City Council drew €3.5m from parking and spent €1.2m operating the service in that city.