In the UK and Wales clamping on private land by Private Parking Operators has been banned since October 2012. It is time to out-law this practise here in Ireland. The Irish Government announced last year that it was to bring in laws to regulate the Private Car Parking Operators but it has somehow put it on the back burner. There is no legislation governing this industry in Ireland and the legal status of the industry is unclear.
While it is important to remove cars parked in areas where they are causing a danger to motorists and pedestrians, it is questionable if it is legal to clamp cars in private parking areas. How can it be possible for a company to take possession of your property and then force you to pay a fine for its return without a court order or a right to appeal the fine without first having to pay up? This is extortion!
The Irish Constitution gives the citizen an inalienable right to private property and the right to earn a livelihood. Gardaí need a Court Order to enter your house to remove your property even if they suspect it has been the result of ill gotten gains. The petty criminal is treated with more justice than the person who is parked minutes over the time in a Private Car Parking area. This is clearly wrong.
How can the clamping of cars by Private Clamping Operators on private land be constitutional? The clamper does not allow you the right to appeal without taking your money first. If you use your vehicle to earn your livelihood, then he is taking away that right also by taking possession of your car.
While a farmer can sue for damages if animals stray on to his land, he cannot take possession of these animals or demand money for their return.
Often Private Clamping Companies will charge exorbitant and disproportional fees to unclamp cars. Where is the legislation to protect the Irish citizen against this extortion, which was promised and why are we allowing this legal ambiguity to continue to exist?
Cllr Nuala Nolan,