herald

Sunday 19 August 2018

Call to hike clamping fee to €120

PLEA: City wants minister to back 50pc rise to cover loss

DUBLIN City Councillors want to hike clamping fees by 50pc to €120.

A number of the representatives have indicated they would like to see a €40 hike in the clamping, from the current fee of €80.

The Council is now writing to the Department of Transport about the possibility of raising the fees.

The release charges --which are set by the Government and not local authorities -- have remained unchanged at €80 for years.

But Dublin city councillors have complained that the parking enforcement service is being run at a loss and they have no power to increase the levy.

Councillors have agreed that the city authority should write to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar requesting he give them discretion to increase or decrease clamping charges as they see fit.

Labour's Andrew Montague suggested the council should seek permission to implement a range of possible fees, going from €80 to €160.

"There should be a minimum and a maximum price but not a specific price," he said.

The problem for the council is that the current fees do not cover the cost of hiring Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS) to carry out enforcement.

A recent report pointed out that the release charges would have to be nearly doubled to €150 for the service to be cost neutral.

Mr Montague said the local authority's services "should pay their own way".

"I don't think we can afford to subsidise these (services). The principle of reviewing these (charges) on an annual basis is very important," he added.



Realistic

The current levy has been unchanged since the late 1990s.

"We can write to the minister and ask for that power (to review the fees)," the Labour councillor said.

Fine Gael's Ruairi McGinley had proposed a motion at the transport committee meeting, saying charges need to be reviewed regularly after being set. Mr McGinley said "setting a fee back in 1998 and not revisiting it in over the 13 years" is not a good idea.

He pointed out that the levy should really be €150 to cover the costs.

However, he added: "We want to minimise illegal parking so therefore it has to be a realistic penalty but equally we do want people to pay it. We don't want the default position to be that the cars are scrapped."

He suggested the release charges be brought from €80 to €120.

"There is a message for us that we should be reviewing things on a more frequent basis," he said.

comurphy@herald.ie

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