The Social Democrats’ candidate for Roscommon-Galway, Ken Campbell, has called for substantially increased fixed charged fines for drivers who park illegally in disabled parking spaces.
Mr Campbell said the move would help deter able bodied motorists from illegally parking in spots designated for holders of EU disabled parking permits, which are issued for people whose mobility is severely and permanently restricted.
Mr Campbell, whose daughter with special needs is a disabled permit holder, said:
“I’m calling on the Minister of State with special responsibility for disabilities Finian McGrath and Transport Minister Shane Ross to substantially increase the fixed charge parking fine of €80 issued to drivers who illegally park in spaces designated for disabled drivers without a valid permit.
“While the current €80 fixed charge fine ensures that some people don’t misuse disabled parking spaces, it’s clearly not enough of a deterrent. We need to root out this practice which causes real inconvenience for people who rely on disabled parking spots.
Mr Campbell said the fact that gardaí can only issue fines for cars illegally parked in public car parks means that drivers do not face any censure for wrongly parking in disabled spaces in supermarket car parks and other private facilities.
“Disabled parking spaces shouldn’t just be tokenistic – if supermarkets put them in their car parks, then they should oversee them to make sure they aren’t abused. In a car park of 200 parking spaces, the chances are there will be four disabled spots, and because they are in prime locations they are the ones that are abused the most.
“As a father of a six-year-old girl with special needs, I try to only use the disabled parking permit out of necessity. We are always aware that a disabled parking space could be of more value to another person.
“A nationwide awareness campaign is needed to change the mindset of drivers. Laziness or ignorance are not excuses for people to flout their obligations to other drivers. This practice must be stamped out once and for all.”
Ken Campbell has started an Uplift Petition which can be signed here.
14 January 2018