The number of Garda fines for motorists who park illegally in disabled parking spaces has doubled in Galway in the past five years, according to a local disability campaigner.
Ken Campbell, who is the Social Democrats’ Dáil candidate for Roscommon Galway, is calling for a substantial increase in the fines imposed on drivers who park illegally in disabled parking spaces.
Mr Campbell said: “Garda figures obtained by the co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy TD, show that the number of fixed charge notices for the offence of parking in a disabled parking bay increased from 139 in 2013 to 277 in 2017 in the Galway Garda Division.
“For Roscommon/Longford Garda Division, the PULSE figures show that 88 fixed charge notices were issued in 2013, and that this had risen to 122 in 2017.
“While the increase in the number of fines being issued is to be welcomed as a sign of increased Garda vigilance, I firmly believe that further deterrents are needed with Operation Enable being rolled out nationwide.
“An increase in the size of the fines 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, added: “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 issued to drivers who illegally park in spaces designated for disabled drivers without a valid permit.
“While the current €150 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."