A NEW €5m-a-year clamping contract has been awarded by Dublin City Council, it emerged today.
Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS), which has carried out the service since 2004, was the successful bidder and will now enforce parking regulations in the city area for at least another five years.
The income generated from clamping is only €4.5m, meaning the council loses about €500,000 a year on the service.
Earlier this year, the council wrote to the Department of Transport about the possibility of hiking release fees by 50pc.
The charges -- which are set by the Government and not councils -- have remained unchanged at €80 for years.
City councillors complain that parking enforcement is being run at a loss and they have no power to increase the levy. Some representatives would like to see a €40 hike, bringing the cost to €120.
Reports today revealed the council received bids from a total of four companies, including Nationwide Controlled Parking Systems and APCOA Parking Ireland.
However, the winning bid came from DSPS, which will clamp vehicles in the city for the next five years. There is an option to extend the contract for a further two years. The €80 clamping release charge has not been increased since 1998 and would need to be hiked substantially for the council to cover its costs.
The award of the contract comes as the Government prepares to introduce legislation to control parking enforcement companies.
Transport Minister Leo Varadkar has promised legislation that will make companies comply with laws aimed at stamping out sharp practice.
In his annual report for 2010, parking appeals officer William Keilthy revealed some of the grievances against DSPS by members of the public.
One motorist was clamped while getting change for the meter, while another was "ambushed" as she was bringing her sick animal to the vet, according to the complaints.
The numbers clamped in the city last year were 58,076.