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Clampers 'scaring away city shoppers'

A REVIEW of clamping is to be undertaken over concerns it is putting shoppers off travelling to Dublin city centre.

Councillors from the local authority's economic committee have referred the issue to transport chiefs.

Labour's Mary Freehill pointed to Dublin 2's Merrion and Fitzwilliam squares where, she said, "no one" parks at the weekends. "We could ease restrictions as there is no one parking there," she told the Herald.

Ms Freehill, who insisted nothing had been decided yet, added that the city centre needed to compete with suburban shopping centres for customers.


"A lot of us feel the whole threat of clamping is a deterrent," she said. The Labour councillor said the council wanted to "discourage commuter parking" but not shoppers.

"We have referred the issue from an economic point of view to the traffic department. We're asking them to examine it, to find a way to make it (clamping) less distressing for people."

The Ilac car park has reduced its rates to €2 an hour between 10am and 4pm to encourage shoppers, she pointed out. City villages like Rathgar, Ranelagh and Terenure will also come under the review.

"Clamping is something that is quite draconian. If you are driving through Rathgar and you see once car clamped you drive off," Ms Freehill said.

However, the council has previously shown itself to be slow to reform the regulations. It recently rejected a proposal for a free parking scheme in Ranelagh to reward loyal shoppers. The proposal would have seen customers, who made purchases in local shops, receive a loyalty card entitling them to 20 minutes free parking on their next visit to the village.

The cards would have been issued by the council to participating businesses, which would have distributed them to shoppers.