Councillors debating illegal parking in the city were accused of being illegally parked themselves during a meeting of the city’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
Cllr Frank Fahy alleged that several members of the committee, including committee chair, Cllr Pádraig Conneely, were illegally parked. Cllr Conneely’s car, he claimed, was parked in a loading bay.
Cllr Conneely vehemently denied that his car was illegally parked, but Cllr Fahy persisted in his allegation that Cllr Conneely’s car was one of those that was illegally parked.
Cllr Fahy said that illegal parking in the city was proving to be a major obstacle for the disabled and the elderly.
“There are people at this table who are parked illegally outside City Hall and shame on them,” said Cllr Fahy.
The meeting also heard that disabled parking spaces in Galway City are the subject of “huge abuse”, with some people using permits to sit in their cars and read the papers.
Addressing the meeting, Cllr Michael Crowe revealed that the Transport Committee had identified the use of disabled parking spaces by non-disabled people as one of the areas as requiring attention by the Gardaí.
Cllr Crowe told the committee that the abuse of disabled parking spaces was “hindering people in wheelchairs”.
Cllr Declan McDonnell said the situation with disabled parking in the city was “a disgrace”. People who had disabled parking permits, which had expired or belonged to someone else, were using the permits to sit in their cars and read the newspapers, he said.
Cllr McDonnell said the design of the permits, which has the expiry date pointing inwards, towards the driver, meant that there were many expired permits in use, which were difficult for Gardaí to spot.
The independent councillor also called for the Gardaí to liaise with the Disabled Drivers’ Association of Ireland in Ballindine, Co. Mayo to improve the permit’s design and prevent what he called the “huge abuse” of disabled parking spaces.
Mayor of Galway City, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty said that abuse of disabled parking permits was something that “should be stamped out” and said that families should not take advantage of the system and only use the permits when necessary.
Cllr Niall McNelis said drivers that park illegally in disabled parking spaces should be towed and fined.
“Hit them where it hurts – in their pockets,” said the Labour Councillor.