All necessary action must be taken against motorists illegally parking in disabled bays, according to Cllr Declan Bree.
At the latest general meeting of Sligo County Council, Cllr Bree stated it is vital parking fines are imposed and if necessary, vehicles are impounded for this illegal activity.
“As chairman of this council’s Disability Consultative Committee I, and indeed other councillors, have been particularly supportive of the ‘Operation Enable’ initiative, a project to remind motorists to respect wheelchair accessible parking bays,” he said.
“It’s a year round initiative supported by the council, the Disabled Drivers Association and the Irish Wheelchair Association and others.
“The objective of Operation Enable is to target the unauthorised use of disabled parking bays and the unauthorised use of disabled parking permits. An additional focus has been to target other forms of illegal parking around the county, including parking in such a manner that greatly interferes with the movement of wheelchair users or persons with limited mobility.
“I appreciate that this is not an issue exclusively for our traffic wardens, it is also a challenge for the whole community to convey a forceful message that we will not tolerate illegal parking on disabled parking spaces.
“The response I have now received states: ‘There will be continued commitment from the traffic wardens to police illegal parking in disabled parking spaces.’
“However it appears to me that the traffic wardens are not receiving the back up support they require when dealing with such matters.
“Only a few weeks back, a motorist parked illegally in a disabled parking space just a stone’s throw from my home. A traffic warden did place a Fixed Charge Notice on the car.
“However, the car was a Northern Ireland registered vehicle which, in essence, means that the driver can ignore the parking laws in Sligo and can ignore the €200 parking fine for parking in the disabled parking space. Indeed, it is my understanding that there are in excess of 20 parking fines outstanding in respect of the same car. That adds up to more than €1,500 in outstanding fines.
“The traffic warden sought to have the car impounded so as to ensure that the fines would be paid and justice done. However, it would appear that it is council policy not to impound cars, even if they park illegally in disabled parking bays."