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Council collected €1.4m in parking fees in three years

A DUBLIN council that earned €1.4m in parking-related fees in three years has been called on to "ease the burden" on drivers.

South Dublin Co Council raised €1,135,941 from parking meters and another €268,296 in fines between 2010 and 2012, figures supplied to Fianna Fail's Trevor Gilligan show.

But the councillor said the local authority should stop seeing the charges as a way of raising revenue from motorists.

In the three years under review, an astonishing €752,938.60 was earned from drivers in Lucan, equating to 66pc of the total amount.

Significant sums also came in from Clondalkin (€182,574.93), Rathcoole (€133,200.82) and Palmerstown (€67,226.33).

The figures demonstrate a clear case for easing the burden on motorists, Mr Gilligan said.

He believes there should be a free allocation before parking charges kick in.

COINS

Mr Gilligan said: "I think we need to move away from seeing parking charges as a revenue raiser for local authorities and ease the burden on drivers as a way of helping businesses in Clondalkin and around the county.

"The current system of the standard rate per hour and need for coins is an on-going inconvenience for customers that discourages short-term parking which can be of benefit to local businesses in our villages."

He added: "Fianna Fail has published a policy document, Streets Ahead, which proposes changing the parking charges structure and creating a more flexible system that encourages short-term stays, rewards return shoppers and removes disproportionate fines.

"We want to see a graded parking fee structure which would involve lower costs for shorter stays and I believe drivers should have a free allocation during the first hour of parking."

Mr Gilligan said the penalty system for staying longer than the allocated time should also be graduated.

"South Dublin Co Council made almost €270,000 in fines during 2011. More than 10,000 fines are issued for parking-related offences in South Dublin County Council each year, at €40 increasing to €60 after 28 days.

HASSLE

"We believe minimum fees should be imposed in the case of brief overstays with costs rising as the length of time involved extends," Mr Gilligan added.

He said the focus should be on taking the hassle out of parking.

"It is clear that the growth of large shopping complexes and the hassle of parking charges on our main streets have discouraged shopping in our villages."

comurphy@herald.ie


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