A PARISH priest has dished out some early festive charity after clampers hit church-goers.
Fr Tom Mangan, St Joseph's Church, O'Connell Avenue, Limerick, helped pay fines for seven church- goers whose cars were clamped as they attended a Christmas carol service in the popular church.
The cars were parked in a private residential area close to St Joseph's Church, where a sign was erected in in recent weeks warning that a clamping operation is in place.
Around 300 people attended the festive celebration in the church, which ended around 9pm on Monday night.
Fr Tom Mangan says many of those caught by the clampers didn't have enough cash to pay the €100 release fee which would have doubled after midnight.
Speaking on Limerick's Live 95FM he said: "They didn't see the sign and when they got out after 9pm there was some cars clamped so they came down to me to talk about it.
"They were very upset, naturally, and some of them had young kids,"
As a "gesture of good will" and the fact they had come along to support the choir service, he decided to help them out.
"I know these families well, and I felt sorry for them in the circumstances that they had been caught up in and so I gave that little bit of festive charity to the season in helping them out which they didn't obviously want me to do but that's the way I felt about it at the time.
The cost of clamping in the private housing development is €100 and this fees increases to €200 after midnight.
Fr Mangan said he understands the clamping company has a job to do and admits clamping is "part and parcel of life today".
Fr Mangan plans to advise church-goers in the next parish news letter to be careful where they park when attending services at St Joseph's Church.