Council is accused over legal actions on parking
DUN Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council took legal action against parking offenders – even though the relevant regulation was not in place, a community group has claimed.
The group has claimed that fines were imposed over a period of almost four years when there was no proper law under which they could be issued.
The claims centre on fines issued by the council, gardai and private parking companies in cases where cars were parked illegally in parking zones designated by a continuous white line, typically along a roadside.
Regulation of this type of parking comes under a specific code, known as RRM 016. But the group says this code is not referred to in the Parking Control Bye Laws Act of 2007 which governs parking in the area.
A change was made to that Act under the Parking Control (Amendment) Bye Laws in 2011.
But the group alleges thousands of fines were handed out in the period after 2007 and before the amendment came into effect on January 1 2011.
The Irish Independent has had contact with two people who say they received fines for this type of infraction but were subsequently cancelled when they complained to the council.
The group says the amendment to the act, passed by a council vote in November 2010, is an acknowledgment there was a hole in the legislation.
One man who says he was fined in this way before the amendment was passed but refused to pay, subsequently received a court summons after the amendment was passed.
However, after he outlined why he felt he shouldn't have to pay the fine, he received another letter from the firm the day before he was due in court, which stated: "The council will be making application to the court to strike out these proceedings in this instance."
A council spokesman said: "All pay and display offenders are prosecuted under sections 8 (a), (b) and (c) of the Council's Bye-Laws which are very clearly designed and worded in respect of offences committed in a ticket parking place.
"The Council's solicitor has advised that the inclusion of road marking RRM 016 in the definition "ticket parking space" is not required for the purpose of preserving the integrity and validity of that definition."
When asked for a copy of the district court ruling, the council said it didn't have one. When asked how it could reference this ruling if it did not possess a copy, the spokesman said he could make no further comment on the matter.