The abuse of disability parking bays remains an issue in Dundalk
Independent councillor Maeve Yore has hit out at drivers who abuse and use disability parking spaces without the proper permissions to do so.
The Avenue Road based representative took to social media on Saturday to air her anger at the scene outside DKIT Sport where less than half of cars parked in the disability parking spaces were displaying a badge required to do so.
Yore, a seasoned disability campaigner in the county, told the Dundalk Democrat that while the Gardai’s successful Operation Enable scheme will soon be rolled out in Louth, more must be done.
“This is an on-going county issue. I and other disability advocates have been working on this. Operation Enable is coming to Louth but that won’t address private car parks, like DKIT Sport.
“What I’m asking is that all businesses and all premises that have disability parking like that to ensure that it’s not abused, to ensure that disability badges are displayed correctly. The photograph of the person with the disability should be facing upwards,” she said.
“I sometimes find that drivers use the parking spaces without the badgeholders being in the car. That’s not acceptable either.
In response to a question posed by the Independent Alliance councillor at Monday's full councillor, Louth County Council confirmed that the Government are raising the fixed charge fine for parking in a disability parking bay without a permit from €80 to €150, as of March 1st. If the fine is not paid within 28 days, it will rise to €225.
Yore (above), who alongside, local campaigner John Morgan of the Accessibility For All Group in Dundalk, says she has been working hard on the issue. “I will also be meeting with the Louth Carers Group shortly.
“I get several representations on this. I went to DKIT Sport, on Saturday afternoon, on the off chance. I got a representation before Christmas and followed it up but there was nothing. But I happened to go on Saturday. I noticed eight cars parked and only three had disability badges.
“It’s just not acceptable,” she added.
Last year, Gardai in the Traffic Corps launched the nationwide clampdown on people parking in disabled bays without proper parking badges.
Operation Enable has already been rolled out and seen fines issued in areas including Dublin, Limerick and Kerry.
“We don’t have a launch date yet but Operation Enable is definitely coming,” Yore said.