Thousands of parking fines could be unlawful, group claims
THOUSANDS of parking fines issued by a Dublin local authority over a four-year period were done so illegitimately, a community action group has claimed.
The Rate Payers' Association says a mistake in by-laws governing parking in the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council area means fines issued under a specific code, RRM 016, are unlawful and could result in multi-million euro reimbursements to fined motorists.
Two people have told the Irish Independent they were fined under code RRM 016 – but said the fine was subsequently dropped when they queried these fines.
One of the men appealed seven fines on the basis that the by- law was not legally binding. He subsequently received a response from the council, seen by the Irish Independent, which stated all had been quashed.
The association claims the affected fines could stretch back 1997, and also claims the by-law has still not been correctly amended, meaning fines are still being issued incorrectly.
The claims relate specifically to parking in a zone alongside a road where there is a continuous white line in use, to designate pay parking areas.
Parking in Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown is currently governed under the Parking Control Bye Laws Act of 2007. However, the group says this Act makes no reference to RRM 016.
A change was made to that Act under the Parking Control (Amendment) Bye Laws in 2011 which states: "The definition 'pay parking place' shall include road marking RRM 016".
The group alleges thousands of parking fines were handed out by gardai, parking wardens and private companies working on behalf of the council in the period between 2007 and 2011 when it says there was no provision in the by-laws to allow for such fines.
Furthermore, the association says the 2011 amendment is not legally binding because it alleges the council failed to adequately consult with the public prior to the amendment.
Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council said: "During a case in Dun Laoghaire District Court last Friday it was claimed that the council's by-laws had not adequately provided for road markings of the type RRM 016.
"The council's solicitor set out the legal position and this was upheld by the judge."
The council said it could not respond in time to queries relating to the legitimacy of parking fines issued under Code RRM 016, when the code was legislated for, or how many fines have been issued under the code.