The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross TD, has announced an increase in the fixed charge for motorists who park in a disabled bay without displaying a valid permit. The fixed charge will increase from €80 to €150.
Speaking today, Minister Ross said; “In response to the selfish and thoughtless behaviour of certain motorists who think it is alright to park in a disabled bay without a permit, thereby depriving disabled drivers of safe, convenient access to parking spaces reserved for them, I have decided that the fixed charge should be increased from €80 to €150. I hope that this increased charge will encourage able-bodied motorists to refrain from taking parking spaces reserved for those who need them.”
Motorists have 28 days to pay the fixed charge of €150, which rises to €225 if paid within the following 28 days. Failure to pay will result in proceedings being initiated.
The parking card scheme is administered by the Disabled Drivers Association and the Irish Wheelchair Association, and cards are issued to those who meet the medical eligibility criteria. Disabled drivers can download a form from the Disabled Drivers Association, which must then be completed and certified by a doctor, and countersigned by a Garda.
“Disabled parking bays may only be used if the card holder is driving or travelling in the car,” the Minister advised. “Able-bodied relatives or friends may not use this card for their own benefit, and it is an offence to forge or fraudulently alter any permit, or to lend or allow a permit to be used by any person other than the holder.”
The new fixed charge amount came into operation on 01 March 2018, with both an Garda Síochána and the Local Authority Traffic Wardens (or their parking enforcement agents) serving fixed charge notices with the increased amount from this date on.
Senator John Dolan, a longtime campaigner on a range of disability issues said today,
"I welcome the announcement by Minister Shane Ross that there will be increase in the fine from €80 to €150 for parking in an accessible parking slot without a valid permit. This is good news for the disability community - and an increase in the deterrent will undoubtedly lead to increased compliance. It is remarkable that despite all we have learned in recent decades, some motorists will still knowingly park in a space allocated and designed for people with disabilities. For the minority of motorists who still show such disregard for their fellow citizens - an increased fine will hopefully also increase their respect and regard for those who can only park in the spaces so designated. This is another practical move by Minister Ross to put the person with a disability first.”
The date the new fixed charge amount comes into effect marks the second anniversary of Operation Enable, a multi-agency initiative between an Garda Síochána, Dublin City Council, Dublin Street Parking Services, the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers of Ireland. This campaign, which is supported across Europe by TISPOL (the European Traffic Police Network) targets motorists who fraudulently use disabled parking permits.
Sean O’ Kelly, disability advocate (pictured) commented; “I am pleased to see further action taken on those who park in the disabled parking bays without a badge. As a driver with a disability, I need the parking space to allow room to get my chair out. When people who use the space without a badge make some excuse of 'I'll only be a minute' that is very frustrating and inconsiderate.”
The Minister said, “I am delighted that under Operation Enable, 64 disabled parking permits were seized for fraudulent use. There are just 740 disabled parking bays for 20,000 disabled drivers in the Greater Dublin Area, so we need to ensure that all of these spaces are only used by those.