Tuesday, 27 March 2007
Department of Transport
Question 464: To ask the Minister for Transport if he is satisfied that the growing practice by local authorities, hospitals, supermarkets, private estate board areas and so on of clamping privately owned motor cars or removing them and holding them until a certain sum is paid, is fully lawful and covered by legislation; his views on whether it could be in any way in conflict with constitutional rights; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11328/07]
Question 465: To ask the Minister for Transport if he has satisfied himself that the practice by local authorities of towing away or otherwise removing privately owned vehicles and holding them for a ransom payment in circumstances where they are not causing obstruction, does not breach any EU or other regulations appertaining to the ownership of private property; if he has further satisfied himself that it falls within the rule of the punishment fitting the crime; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11330/07]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 464 and 465 together.
The legislative basis for the application of immobilisation devices to vehicles that are illegally parked on public roads is set out in Section 101 (B) of the Road Traffic Act 1961, as inserted by section 9 of the Dublin Transport Authority (Dissolution) Act 1987. The Road Traffic (Immobilisation of Vehicles) Regulations 1998 give effect to that section.
The regulations includes a provision that identifies those classes of persons who may be authorised to apply and remove immobilisation devices and determines that such persons shall consist of members of the GardaÃ, traffic wardens and any person appointed in writing for such purposes by a local authority.
Powers are also available to the Garda and local authorities, under the Road Traffic (Removal, Storage and Disposal of Vehicles) Regulations, 1983 to 1998, to remove, store and dispose of vehicles, which are abandoned or unlawfully parked on a public road or in a local authority car park.
These regulations only have application in respect of vehicles illegally parked on public roads or in local authority car parks and only by the above-mentioned persons.
The practice of clamping or the removal of vehicles on private property does not come within the scope of Road Traffic legislation.