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Finally, private clamping firms scourge tackled

CLAMPERS who target cars on private property could be reined in by new proposals in a report published today.

Private clampers should be obliged to issue fines to motorists instead of clamping their wheels, according to the Oireachtas transport committee report.

But to replace clamps with fines, the private companies would have to be given access to the details of all 2.6m licensed drivers in Ireland and ownership details of the nation's 2.5m vehicles.

At present, private clampers have no access to the National Vehicle Registration File (NVRF). The Regulation of Vehicle Clamping report states that concerns about giving private operators unrestricted access to the NVRF could be referred to the Data Protection Commissioner.

The Irish Parking Association told the committee that access to the NVRF would allow private clampers the option of dispensing with the need to clamp vehicles on private land.

Some 55,000 cars are clamped each year in Ireland. An average of 150 cars are clamped every day in Dublin.

Clampers raked in more than €4m from motorists in Dublin last year.

Dublin City Council revealed that a total of 52,749 vehicles were clamped for illegal parking during 2011. The figure for release fees was more than the income DCC obtained from legally parked cars.

A council representative said that €4.123m was collected by clampers, while pay-and-display charges resulted in €3.951m for the city coffers.

The main clamping blackspots were Noel Purcell Walk in Rathmines, Shelbourne Road in Dublin 4, Jervis Street, Ranelagh and Wellington Quay.

Cork City Council revealed plans last year to become a clamp-free zone.

The decision came after 15 months of negotiations between council officials and city councillors, following particularly severe cases of clamping.