Clamping Dubs show no mercy
I am not looking for sympathy. I erred and strayed like many a sinner before me. Retribution was in order – but the scale of the retribution still came as a shock.
Your correspondent pulled in at the roadside in a Dublin suburb on a Saturday afternoon. He had no coins to hand and so did not buy a parking ticket. He returned after an hour and a half to find his vehicle clamped.
After years covering the District Court in County Wexford, where simple parking fines are the norm, I had no idea that local authorities can take such draconian power unto themselves. But they can indeed. It was a chastening lesson that cost me €80 I can ill afford and an hour of my time when I should have been hastening home. I had always imagined that clamping was something reserved for particularly heinous parking offenders. No, at least in Dublin it is the punishment of first resort. Please don't tell the town clerks around here in case they get any nasty ideas.
How many solicitors are required to keep the State in good legal trim? The Law Society has recently elected a new president charged with representing the profession at home and abroad. Word of his election was announced in the newspapers along with a claim that the society has the interests of 13,800 solicitors at heart.
13,800! Who are they all, one wonders, and where do they all hang out? At a rough estimate, Enniscorthy has maybe 20 members of the profession available at short notice to make out wills or put in a mitigating word with the judge on a careless driving summons. At that rate, the county probably supports no more than 100 solicitors. Do the maths – 26 counties at 100 solicitors each gives just 2,600, which leaves more than 11,000 unaccounted for. The law departments of big firms and banks, most of them in Dublin, must employ squads of solicitors to make up such numbers. And remember that the figures do not allow for the legions of barristers who must also chisel out a living for themselves from our crimes and contracts, torts and courts.
The editorial line taken by 'The Economist' magazine is that a country's civilisation and prosperity is directly related to the influence of lawyers and accountants. So how come we're in such a shambles?