THE new measures to clamp down on clampers undoubtedly stop short of where most motorists would like to see the industry – in the bin. But despite the anger we all feel when we see the big, obnoxious, yellow blob of metal attached to our wheels, clamping is a necessary evil.
There has to be some sort of deterrent to stop motorists from abandoning their cars in the nearest apartment complex, sports ground, train station or hospital, depriving those buildings of a valuable car space.
However, it is frustrating that there can be such a discrepancy between fees for releasing a clamp. The difference can be as much as €40, from the €80 charged by Dublin City Council to the average of €120 levied by private operators.
There must be uniformity, and Transport Minister Leo Varadkar – who stopped short of a UK-style outright ban on private clamping – should be applauded for this approach in his new bill. The changes in the appeals process are also a good idea, since the current one can put people off trying to seek redress when they feel they have been wrongfully clamped.
At present, they can only appeal to the company itself. But that will change with the National Transport Authority becoming the second of a two-strand appeals system, meaning motorists have another avenue to pursue if they are unhappy.
It is also astonishing that there is no data on the number of private clamping companies here – but this new bill aims to rectify that. Overall, the bill is to be welcomed – just a little bit more than the sight of a clamp on your wheel after a football match.