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Saturday 1 October 2016

My advice to unlucky Dublin motorists - hate the clamp, not the clamper

Cathal Pendred
Cathal Pendred

UFC fighter Cathal Pendred has done what many of us have dreamed of - he cut off a clamp.

The details are sketchy, but the story begins with Pendred tweeting a picture of his car clamped outside his house and finishes with him tweeting a short lesson on the legality of removing a clamp (the thrust of his lesson being it's a very bad idea to remove one if a council clamps you, but a greyer area if it's a private company).

As a serial clampee, reading Pendred's messages made me deeply envious. I have fantasised about removing a clamp.

I've imagined undoing the ball joint on my suspension and slipping off the chain, then staring into the middle distance, flushed with pride while strangers nod respectfully.

guts

I've dreamed of carrying a battery angle grinder and crouching beside my wheel arch in a shower of sparks, striking a blow for democracy and freedom while onlookers clap and cheer.

I've never had the guts. I'm no Pendred.

There is a downside to his tweet though.

It flushed out all the people who wanted to claim hero status for arguing with or demeaning or threatening a clamper. The clampers don't write the legislation, they're just earning a living in one of the most thankless careers imaginable.

No point shouting at a garda if you break the law. No point roaring at a bouncer if you don't make the dress code. These people do a tough job and in the case of the clampers, they do it nicely.

In my (unfortunately extensive) experience, the guys in the vans and the guys on the phones do their work civilly, politely and efficiently.

So give out about clamps and the legislation that allows them, hell, grab a grinder if you're feeling really brave. But leave the clampers alone.

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