Inis Mor no longer Inis free as first parking ticket is issued
NOT even the sanctuary of an island hideaway is safe from the traffic warden.
The uniforms with their book of tickets have finally invaded the last refuge of the hard-pressed motorist.
The first €40 parking ticket has now been issued to an errant motorist on Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands off the coast of Galway.
New by-laws that came into force on January 1 grant power to Galway County Council wardens to travel to the island, where new yellow lines have been laid, warning motorists they must not park at any of the designated parts of the quayside at Kilronan.
Community wardens are not based on the island but from now on will visit Inis Mor at random intervals.
They now have the authority to issue tickets for illegal parking and for the non-display of a valid road tax disc, as well as for littering.
They can also pursue the owners of abandoned cars and derelict sites.
The Harbour Master at Kilronan has also been formally declared an "authorised officer" under the by-laws and has powers to issue tickets to negligent motorists.
"We prefer a softly, softly approach, but we do have a job to do to uphold the law. The new by-laws covering illegal parking and other traffic violations came into force on January 1," community warden Martin Mannion said.
On Monday he issued the very first ticket to a motorist on Inis Mor. Mr Mannion explained that he was not in a position to comment on the alleged offence.
Following a massive €40m investment in the harbour facilities at Kilronan, Galway County Council agreed a new traffic management plan last year.
The plan came into effect at the start of the year and regulates parking and the movement of traffic in the vicinity of the newly developed harbour.
The yellow lines on the roadway stretch just beyond the entrance to the harbour from Kilronan village. There are believed to be no more than 400 vehicles on Inis Mor.
A special rate of annual motor tax of €95 applies to these vehicles, regardless of engine capacity.
Neither the other two Aran Islands, Inis Meain and Inis Oirr, nor the island of Inishbofin off the west Connemara coast, are affected by the new by-laws.