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Clampers' tactics probed amid 'valid basis for concerns'

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A litany of concerns over tactics used by clampers in the capital have been investigated.

Dublin City Council (DCC) is pursuing issues raised in protected disclosures by two employees in a street parking company which were made early last year.

The concerns include:

  • The alleged clamping of vehicles where there were no or inadequate road markings, which as a consequence would mean a parking offence may not have been committed.
  • An inconsistent approach to parking enforcement was being pursued, with a failure to enforce parking restrictions at certain city centre locations and against a certain category of vehicle (for example, commercial vehicles) to a sufficient extent.
  • Insufficient 'grace time' being afforded before enforcement action was taken.
  • The recording of vehicles being de-clamped before they were actually de-clamped in order to avoid a delayed de-clamp penalty. It was alleged that for the last two issues this was facilitated by manually recording times on occasions.

However, with a device introduced in early 2017 to eliminate manual recordings, this allegation was not pursued further.

Clocking

According to a letter to Green Party councillor Ciaran Cuffe from DCC chief executive Owen Keegan, this gave rise to a concern that key performance indicators were not being met, with clampers clocking out of work early due to the scheme.

The protective disclosures were made by two employees of Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS) with the council initially appointing former garda assistant commissioner Michael McCarthy to investigate.

However, following representation from DSPS, the council deleted a report by Mr McCarthy because it "breached the principles of natural justice".

In the letter to Cllr Cuffe, Mr Keegan said that while he was "satisfied in general the parking enforcement service operated to a reasonable standard" he felt "there was a valid basis for the various concerns raised".

Mr Keegan added that "DSPS, with considerable justification, robustly denied any wrongdoing on their part or any failure to comply with their obligations to the city council under the parking enforcement contract".

Mr Keegan also said that the primary responsibility for any problems with the parking enforcement services lay with the council's monitoring of it.

He listed a number of council issues and how they are addressing it, while also expressing his "sincere regret for management failures".

DSPS could not be contacted at the time of going to print.


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