Greens urge greater sanctions for misuse of disabled parking spots

11th March 2018

 Green Party candidate for Wexford, Ann Walsh, has welcomed the increase in fixed charge penalties for motorists illegally parking in disabled spots, but urged greater sanctions for the offence, as well as further supports for disabled drivers.
Speaking today, she said: “I welcome the raising of the fixed charge for motorists parking in disabled spots without displaying a valid permit, and would encourage the Minister for Transport to also impose four penalty points on those found guilty of the offence. We also need more support initiatives to help disabled drivers using private car parks, where this new sanction will have no impact.
“As someone with a family member who is a wheelchair user, there is nothing so disheartening and frustrating as seeing able bodied individuals parking in disabled spaces.  People, particularly those with complex physical or intellectual difficulties, and their families, have enough challenges to face within the health care system without having to feel frustrated on an almost daily basis by such thoughtless behaviour.  Even those with passengers with a disability, are expected to give precedence to disabled drivers, something we as a family are always cognisant of.
“Unfortunately, misuse of disabled parking spots on public roads is only part of the problem for those with disabilities. Private car parks, like those belonging to local supermarkets, do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Minister. We need to see measures to stamp out this rampant misuse of disabled parking  in private carparks by able bodied individuals.
“Advertising and educational campaigns would go some way to help nudge society towards greater consideration for disabled drivers and their carers. And for particularly tricky spots innovative approaches could be tested. For example, in some shopping centres in Russia a hologram of a person in a wheelchair pops up and berates drivers that park in disabled parking spots without a permit.”