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AA fury as parking chief urges 60pc rise in city clamping fee

CLAMPING fees in Dublin need to rise by 60pc to cover the cost of the service, a new report has said.

The annual document from parking appeals officer William Keilthy states the release charge of €80 should increase to €130.

But the findings have been disputed by motoring group the AA which says there is no justification for a hike.

In June last year, Dublin city councillors wrote to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar seeking a fee increase of 50pc to €120.

However, the minister's only response was that his department was carrying out a review of various aspects of clamping policy.

"The views of the (council's) traffic advisory group regarding the current level of clamping release fees will receive due regard in this context," Mr Varadkar had said.

Mr Keilthy's report has now injected fresh impetus into the debate, though the AA scoffed at the proposals, saying the increase would be out of all proportion.

"If I'm guilty of a speeding offence, which puts lives at risk, the fine is €80. To have the fine so much higher for a parking offence, notwithstanding the finance problems which Dublin City Council have, I don't think that's fair on motorists. I think it's disproportionate," the AA's Conor Faughnan said.

However, the Dublin Chamber of Commerce said the council has to be able to recoup the economic cost of the enforcement service.

Mr Keilthy pointed out the release fee has not been increased since it was introduced in 1998.



Petrol

It means the charge has decreased by 25pc in real terms, while the cost of petrol has doubled in the intervening years.

"To place this into context, at today's prices a 50 litre fill of unleaded petrol will cost a motorist almost €80 -- twice the 1998 cost," the officer said.

Based on the €7m cost of the clamping service, the release fee should be a minimum of €130, he added.

"By keeping the charge at 1998 levels, compliant motorists who pay for their parking are effectively subsiding non-compliant motorists to the tune of €50 per clamp," he stated.

His report will be discussed by the city council's transport and transport committee next week.

It revealed that an average of 58,059 cars were clamped annually in Dublin city since 2002.

In 2011, 58,575 vehicles were subject to clamping or relocation.

Some 55,712, or 95pc, of motorists did not appeal the sanction.

Of those who appealed to the enforcement company last year, Dublin Street Parking Services, 656 or 22pc of cases were successful and obtained a refund.

comurphy@herald.ie


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