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Drivers face huge hike in clamping fee

Dublin city councillors are pushing for a massive increase in clamping fees.

The release charges -- which are set by the Government and not councils -- have remained unchanged at €80 for over a decade.

City councillors say the parking enforcement service is being run at a loss and they have no power to increase the levy.

They wrote to Transport Minister Leo Varadkar over the possibility of changing the penalty, with a suggestion the hike should be around 50pc.

He has now written back, saying the programme for government includes a commitment to introduce legislation to regulate the clamping industry.

"(In) that context, my department is reviewing various aspects of clamping policy," he added.

"The views of the (council's) traffic advisory group regarding the current level of clamping release fees will receive due regard in this context," Mr Varadkar said.


Some councillors would like to see a €40 hike, bringing the cost to €120. Labour's Andrew Montague had suggested the council seek permission to implement a range of fees, going from €80 to €160.

"There should be a minimum and a maximum price, but not a specific price," he said.

Currently, the income generated through clamping does not cover the cost of hiring Dublin Street Parking Services (DSPS) to carry out the enforcement service. A recent report pointed out the release charges would have to be nearly doubled to €150 for the service to be cost neutral.

Mr Montague said the local authority's services "should pay their own way".

"I don't think we can afford to subsidise these (services). The principle of reviewing these (charges) on an annual basis is very important," he added.

The current levy is unchanged since the late 1990s.

Fine Gael's Ruairi McGinley proposed charges be reviewed regularly after being set.

Mr McGinley said that "setting a fee back in 1998 and not revisiting it in over the 13 years" is not a good idea. He said the levy should really be €150 to cover the costs.