Fine Gael councillor Brian Walsh has stated that he is emphatically against, and will not support a return of, wide scale clamping in Galway city.
Due to traffic and parking problems being encountered by Galway City Council the re-introduction of the controversial regime has been discussed. Warnings from City Manager Joe McGrath, Mayor Declan McDonnell, and Cllr Mike Crowe suggested that the massive clamping operation which was abandoned last March could be reinstated.
Complaints have arisen over an increasing number of abandoned vehicles being parked in the city without proper on-street parking.
Cllr Walsh says this proposal if implemented would be to the detriment of the city, and have a hugely negative effect on both the tourism and retail sectors. He adds; “In 2006, as mayor of the city, I introduced new proposals supported by the majority of the councillors, which effectively eliminated clamping from the city. At the time clamping was doing untold damage to businesses in the city, and in terms of tourism it was seriously undermining our reputation as a city of welcomes.”
Cllr Walsh highlights the massive negative media attention that was associated with Galway after high profile clamping cases in recent years were justifiably labelled as being completely unfair and unwarranted. As as a result these cases proved to be highly embarrassing to everybody connected with Galway.
“Do city officials not recall the high profile incidents where parents of sick children were clamped outside doctors’ surgeries and bereaved families attending funerals were clamped outside churches,” he asks. “These incidents, which were reported in the national media, did serious damage to our city and I will not support a return to those days.”
Cllr Walsh says he does support a tow away system in some situations, but he believes the current practice of issuing fines would be more than adequate in a large majority of cases. Cllr Walsh adds; “I do not condone illegal parking and if cars are illegally parked in an invalid or a wheelchair space then I would support a tow away system in those circumstances, but we cannot have a return to clamping in situations where a person is legitimately parked but their pay and display ticket has expired. In these circumstances we should continue with the current system of issuing parking fines.”