Local Fine Gael Councillor, John Dolan, has called for the imposition of larger fines on those who choose to park illegally in disabled bays.
Cllr Dolan, addressing the monthly meeting of Athlone-Moate Municipal District, noted the urgent need to address the situation as illegal parking by individuals “is a regular occurrence in the town of Athlone”.
“I make reference to case in County Clare which resulted in a fine of €2,000 I believe being imposed on the offender following a court case. There was great joy I can assure you amongst disabled drivers when the result of this case was announced.
“On a daily basis here in Athlone, you can witness our disable parking bays being used illegally and it is simply an issue which needs to be addressed immediately. If we can enforce large fines on the perpetrators that should certainly deter such drivers from parking illegally in the future.
“To that extent, if we are unable to amend our parking bye-laws to accommodate the increasing of such fines, can we write a letter to the Department of Transport requesting same? We really need to take a stand on this matter now,” Cllr Dolan stated.
Concurring, local Green Party Councillor, Louise Heavin, stated that the issue was “serious in nature”, noting how, as a mother, she experienced similar situations when seeking to park in parent friendly spaces.
“These car parking bays are there for a reason, to allow the driver extra space to onload a wheelchair or a pram when they park up. The issue of cars being parked on our street footpaths must also be addressed with immediate effect also,” Cllr Heavin added.
Responding, director of services, Mr Barry Kehoe, stated that a letter would issue to the Department of Transport to request an increase in the imposition of relevant car parking fines with Cllr Dolan noting that the fine “should be at least doubled”.