Friday 19 October 2018

'Oversight' blamed as 26 motorists wrongly clamped on just two Dublin streets within six months

Stock photo
Stock photo
Kathy Armstrong

Kathy Armstrong

A total of 26 vehicles were wrongly clamped on two Dublin streets in just six months this year, Independent.ie has learned.

Dublin City Council (DCC) has been forced to apologise and reimburse motorists who were unfairly clamped on Noel Purcell Walk and Longford Street between January and July this year.

Work is still underway to refund the drivers who were wrongly clamped.

Every December the council removes road markings and signs in parts of the capital as part of Operation Freeflow to add an extra driving lane in a bid to ease traffic congestion during the busy Christmas period.

The council is banned from clamping vehicles unless they have correct road markings to indicate where parking is and is not allowed and also signs stating clamping operations are in place.

DCC has blamed an "oversight" on the correct road markings not being reinstated and their enforcement contractor, Dublin Street Parking Services, clamping 26 vehicles on Longford Street  Lower and Noel Purcell Walk between January and mid-July this year, when a member of the public brought it to the council's attention.

A spokeswoman for DCC told Independent.ie: "In December 2016 as part of Operation Freeflow parking control road markings and signage were removed on Noel Purcell Walk and Longford Street to accommodate an additional traffic lane.

"In January 2017 the parking control road signage was re-erected but due to an oversight the required road markings were not re-instated until July 2017.

"A total of 26 vehicles were clamped by the Council’s parking enforcement contractor (DSPS) on Noel Purcell Walk and Longford Street over the period January to July 2017 even though, in the absence of the required road markings, no parking offence had been committed by the owners of these vehicles."

The motorists faced an €80 fine and if they didn't pay the release fee and move their vehicle within 24 hours it was towed away. Additional fees are charged per day from that point.

The council will now have to pay back a total of at least €2080 and said they are trying to track down the affected motorists.

The spokeswoman said: "The Council is in the process of contacting the registered owners of the vehicles concerned to apologise for the clamping of the vehicles and to make arrangements for a refund of the de-clamp fees that were paid.

"This has been delayed on account of the fact that neither the Council nor DSPS retain details of the  individuals who paid de-clamp fees in respect of these vehicles  for data protection reasons.  It is expected that this process will be finalised over the next two weeks."

She said that the system is being reviewed and that DSPS has been instructed not to clamp people uness the correct road markings and signage are visible.

She said: "A revised regime for renewal of road markings was immediately put in place and the Council has instructed  DSPS not to take enforcement action where road markings and /or signage as required are not in place and clearly legible."

When contacted by Independent.ie DSPS declined to comment.

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