| 15.4°C Dublin

Anger as council pockets €2.4m in parking charges

MOTORISTS in south Dublin were forced to fork out over €2.4m in parking fines and fees between January and May this year.

The data from Dun Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has revealed it raked in €2,443,009 in the five-month period.

The majority of the cash was earned through on and off-street parking metres, with €1.65m raised in this way.

Just over €100,000 was raised through the sale of residents' and visitors' permits.

Income of €583,556 was earned through fines levied on illegally parked drivers.

A total of 17,239 fines were issued in the five months, while 11,313 of these were paid.

Some 2,313 of the penalties were appealed, according to the figures released to Independent councillor Victor Boyhan.

The figures come a day after the Herald revealed that the council is probing an allegation that a traffic warden attempted to elicit a bribe from a prominent businessman.

Overall last year, motorists in Dun Laoghaire paid out €6.2m in parking fees and fines last year -- a 50pc increase on 2009. Cllr Boyhan criticised the charges as "nothing but a stealth tax".

"Almost all of this was collected in Dun Laoghaire. There has been aggressive targeting of motorists," said Mr Boyhan.

"During the snow in December people who had to abandon their cars found tickets on their windscreens the next morning," he added.

Mr Boyhan had claimed wardens were "working in pairs and hiding in alleyways" to nab drivers when they stop for "even the shortest period".

"The town centre is in severe decline and with increases in rates and the fall off in trade because people can't afford to park, the council is strangling the town," he said.

The council pointed out the figure for parking fines and fees is for the entire county and not just Dun Laoghaire town.

A spokeswoman added the primary objective of its parking policies is to ensure a high level of turnover and availability of on-street parking spaces.