Thursday, 22 January 2015
Vehicle Clamping Bill 2014 [Seanad]: Second Stage
I thank the Deputy. I was just double-checking that point and while I will check this again for the purposes of considering the Bill on Committee Stage, my understanding is that a person who is parked in a designated parking space for people with disabilities and who does not have a permit on his or her dashboard should be clamped for so doing or should be subject to whatever sanction a member of the Garda or a local authority believes should be imposed. It should already be possible for clamping to take place under the current law. If the Deputy believes there are some way in which this can be made more automatic, for example, I definitely will consider it. I draw the Deputy's attention to section 13(1)(b) of the Bill which makes provision for where such disabled parking should take place. It provides for making an exemption if the clamping operator or car park controller believes someone might be parked on such a space for reasons beyond convenience. For example, in the case of an emergency, that could be recognised. However, someone who parks in that spot without having a permit to so do, should either be clamped or be open to the sanction the Garda or the local authority deems to be applicable.
I again thank all Members for raising these issues and I have taken careful note of the different points made. I believe that as currently drafted, the Bill will go a long way towards addressing the issues raised by colleagues. As for the main thing the Bill will not be able to do, its purpose is not to put in place parking policy, because that is the role of local authorities. However, the Bill seeks to regulate something that can be a consequence of parking policy, namely, clamping. The Bill seeks to do this in the broadest way possible by focusing on the issue of clamping itself, as opposed to how it is being done. However, I reiterate that as the Bill continues its passage through the House, it can be considered in greater detail. I am sure that when the National Transport Authority acquires the powers to actually do this, it will monitor how this is being implemented and if the authority has ideas as to how it can be strengthened, it certainly will inform the Department.