05/08/2021

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‘Free for all’ in disability parking bays around Laois claims campaigner

garda

Laois Gardaí seized this car in on June 4 in Abbeyleix after it was parked in a disabled parking bay

A Laois campaigner for people with disabilities claims there is an illegal parking 'free for all' in parking bays for people with disabilities around Laois.

Leo Kavanagh, who is a permit holder and a member of Physical Impairment Ireland, has also called on public representatives to have tougher enforcement of the rules which ensure that people with physical disabilities can park in designated spaces which they pay for.

Mr Kavanagh also asked a series of questions of councillors.

“As a person with a physical disability and an advocate for people with physical disabilities can you ask the following on our behalf with regards to disabled parking bays in your area?

“How many parking tickets were issued to people illegally parking in disabled parking bays in the past two years? Unless fines are issued there is no deterrent to stop this practice.

“Why is there not more enforcement in relation to this issue. Ie people illegally parking in disabled parking bays?”

He said the UN Convention on the Rights of the Person with Disabilities is being implemented.

“People with disabilities still can’t use the allocated disabled parking bays as there is a ‘free for all’ for everyone as there is very little enforcement of this regulation,” he said.

Mr Kavangh said people with disabilities are being shortchanged.

“Disabled persons pay €35 every two years for a parking permit for people with disabilities and are lucky if we can find a vacant disabled parking spot which you must agree is totally unacceptable.

“The fines imposed should facilitate the upkeep and maintenance of the disabled parking bays.

The disabled parking bays should be strategically placed so that users of the parking permit for people with disabilities can access services easily such as banks, post offices, chemists, shops etc without having to travel far from their vehicles.

“This issue is causing undue hardship and stress on vulnerable people as a result of able-bodied motorists using disabled parking bays. Misuse of the parking permit may amount to a criminal offence punishable by a maximum fine or €2,000 and or three months in prison,” he said.

He asked: “Should not this criminal offence not be imposed if an able-bodied motorist who parks illegally in disabled parking bays as a deterrent?”.

Mr Kavanagh wrote to all county councillors. He said he looked forward in anticipation to see if you are willing to discuss the above questions and points with the relevant parties as soon as possible please. The letter was raised by Cllr James Kelly at the recent Borris-in-Ossory Mountmellick Municipal District meeting.

No definitive response was provided by the council officials to the questions asked.

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