Disabled Person's Parking Permits or Cards (also known as European Parking Cards or Disabled Parking Badge) are available to people living in Ireland with certain disabilities and those who are registered blind, whether they are drivers or passengers. The parking card can be used by a disabled person in any vehicle in which he or she is travelling. This means that a disabled person who is being driven at different times by different people can bring the parking card with himself or herself and display it in the appropriate vehicle. The parking card is valid for 2 years from date of issue. Generally, the card is not issued to anyone under 5 years of age.
The parking card scheme for disabled drivers and passengers applies to public car parking areas only. However, the scheme also enables private car parks, supermarkets, etc., to more effectively monitor parking in areas that they have designated for people with disabilities. If you have a parking card, the disabled parking spaces provided by local authorities are free of charge and no time limits will apply to your parking. Some private car parks may charge for use of a disabled parking space, but this will vary depending on the operator. You can read more about parking facilitites for people with disabilities in Ireland here. Provision for the disabled parking card scheme is set down in Section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 and SI 182/1997 Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997.
Disabled (also known as 'European') Parking Cards can be used by disabled people within the 28 member states of the EU and are also recognised in the US and Canada. This means that when you travel abroad, you can bring your European Parking Card with you. However, it is important to remember that you must observe the motoring laws and restrictions on parking in other countries. The EU Commission has produced a publication, Parking card for people with disabilities in the European Union (pdf).
The parking card scheme is administered by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland (DDAI) and the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA).
In June 2011, following a review of the Disabled Parking Scheme, SI 239/2011 Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 introduced changes to the Scheme which included:
You will automatically qualify for a parking card if you hold a Primary Medical Certificate (exempting you from payment of VAT, motor tax and Vehicle Registration Tax), however, you must still formally apply for the parking card.
Local Health Offices of the Health Service Executive (HSE) process applications for a Primary Medical Certificate. If the HSE refuses your application for a Primary Medical Certificate, you may appeal the refusal to the Disabled Drivers Medical Board of Appeal, National Rehabilitation Hospital, Rochestown Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin.
It is an offence to park a vehicle in a disabled parking space unless you have a current, valid Disabled Parking Card. If you illegally park in a disabled parking space, you will incur a fixed charge parking fine. More information on parking offences is available here.
Both traffic wardens and members of An Garda Siochana have the power to request and inspect a parking card to ensure it is not being misused.
A parking card costs €35.
Illegally parking in a disabled parking space will result in an €80 fine, rising to €120 if unpaid within 28 days.
To obtain an application form for a parking card, you can request a form online from the Disabled Drivers Association or write to the Irish Wheelchair Association, enclosing a stamped self-addressed envelope. In your letter you should give details about your disability and how it affects your mobility. You should mention your age and the type of mobility aids that you use, if any. If you have a Primary Medical Certificate or are registered blind you should also mention it.
The application form must be completed and certified by your doctor and must be countersigned by a Garda. Decision makers within the issuing authorities will determine if you are eligible based on the information provided.
To obtain a Primary Medical Certificate obtain an application form from your Local Health Office. You must complete the application form and return it to the Senior Medical Officer of the Local Health Office. The Senior Medical Officer then appoints a HSE doctor to visit your home and carry out an assessment of the level of your disability. If you satisfy the requirements, you are then granted a Primary Medical Certificate by the Health Service Executive (HSE).
Applications to have lost/misplaced cards replaced should be made directly to either the Disabled Drivers Association or the Irish Wheeelchair Association (whichever organisation issued the card).
The parking card must be renewed every 2 years. You will be sent a renewal form several weeks before your parking card is due to expire. Therefore, if you change address you should tell the organisation that issued the card.
If you have had any corrective surgery or treatment that may have altered the level of your mobility, you should report it in the mobility section of the renewal form.
Information on using the parking card abroad is available in the FIA Guide for the disabled traveller.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.