DUN Laoghaire Rathdown County Council has defended its plan to introduce a quota system regarding the number of parking tickets issued on its behalf by traffic wardens.
A tender for the contract of the council’s parking enforcement system published by the local authority in June requires the company processing parking fines to issue €2,700 per month or €32,400 annually.
The tender stipulates that if traffic wardens working for the successful contractor do not reach the quota, the company will be required to pay €1,200 for every 100 tickets they are short of the target.
The business community in the town has long claimed that the council’s rigorous parking enforcement has had a detrimental impact on the local economy by deterring prospective customers from shopping in Dun Laoghaire.
Ann Joyce of the Dun Laoghaire Community Association, who owns a flower shop on Northumberland Avenue, said the association would seek a review of the tender arrangement if it is implemented.
“If traffic wardens are told to get out there and get [a certain number] of tickets a day and get a rollicking back in the office because they haven’t, then naturally they are going to write tickets,” she said.
Ms Joyce claimed that several businesses in the area have been forced to relocate outside of Dun Laoghaire due to the level of parking enforcement in the town.
“My accountant had to move out of town up to Mounttown because his customers were getting hit with parking fines,” she claimed.
Cllr Victor Boyhan (Ind) said he wanted to clarify that councillors did not seek or approve any quota scheme to be devised or incorporated into the new tender documents for the provision of Pay & Display car parking.
“I am totally opposed to a quota for parking fines,” he said. “It’s grossly unfair and confirms citizens’ real fears that this source of income for the council is now a stealth tax and has little to do with the management of traffic and car parking.”
A spokesperson for the council said: “While the council’s long-term objective is to ensure compliance with our pay parking and traffic management system, the reality is that people continue to break the law and there must therefore be consequences.
“The performance target specified in the tender document, which is currently the source of much controversy, is therefore necessary both for tenderees and for the council, who must continue to regulate and review a contractor’s performance.”
The spokesperson added that the new parking tender provides for a 23 per cent reduction in enforcement.