Parking fees, fines and vehicle clamping
A system of parking fees, restrictions, fines and clamping is in place in towns and cities in Ireland. This is to stop illegal parking, which can block other motorists or businesses.
Traffic wardens and an Garda Síochána are responsible for enforcing laws relating to illegal parking. Your local authority is responsible for creating bye-laws that list the public places in your area where parking fees will be in place. It also decides the cost of parking fees.
Parking fees vary in Ireland and can be set and adjusted by your local authority.
Most local authority websites have details of parking restrictions and the type of pay parking in their area. You can also get details of car park locations, rates, and the location of disabled parking spaces. Alternatively, you can contact the relevant local authority to get these details.
Paying for parking
The way you pay for parking varies, depending on where you park. There are signs in areas where you must pay giving details of when you must pay for parking and the maximum time you can park there. Payment methods include:
- Pay and display: this lets you pay for parking by using a meter. Hourly prices vary depending on where you park.
- Parking tag: this lets you pay for parking using your mobile device. This service is available in certain pay-and-display areas. More information is available at parkingtag.ie.
- Parkbytext: lets you pay for parking in specific locations using your mobile device. Read more about how it works on apcoaconnect.ie.
- Disc parking: lets you pay for parking by buying a parking disc in a participating newsagents or shop. The disc should be displayed clearly on your windscreen. This service runs in some cities and smaller towns.
If there is on-street parking in operation on the street where you live, you can get a resident's permit from the traffic division of your local authority to park there. Your permit identifies the name of your street and varies in price depending on your location. Each car owner can be issued with one permit, and no more than four permits are issued to applicants of any one household. If you live in a house that has been divided up into more than one unit of accommodation, you are only entitled to one parking permit per unit. Residents of purpose built apartment blocks are not eligible for residents' permits.
Private car parks
Private car parks are not regulated by the Government and revenue earned from parking there goes directly to the owners of the car parks. The prices charged in private car parks vary. Prices are determined by the car park owner. You will usually be issued a ticket when you go into the car park and pay for parking when you leave.
Parking is restricted during business hours in certain parts of most towns and cities. During these hours, you are not allowed to obstruct clearways, bus lanes and loading zones. Parking signs on these streets will clearly display the hours that restrictions are in operation. Disabled parking spaces are off limits at all times, unless you have an appropriate permit. See our document on Parking Permits for Disabled Drivers.
There is a system of fines in place for illegal parking and non-payment of parking fees. You get a parking ticket when you have been issued a fine.
If you get a parking fine, you must pay the fine to the traffic division of the local authority within 28 days of the date of the fixed charge notice. If you fail to pay within the allotted 28 days, the charge increases by 50%. If the fine is unpaid after a further 28 days, court proceedings are initiated. Details of where you can pay your parking fine should be written on your parking ticket. If you fail to pay your parking fine and aren’t formally appealing the fine, you can be prosecuted.
Some parking offences incur penalty points. For example, if you are convicted of parking dangerously, you will receive 5 penalty points and a fine. Read more about the penalty points system.
Vehicle clamping is in operation in some areas. Clamping services are run by private companies on behalf of the local authority. Employees of the vehicle clamping company can clamp vehicles and issue clamping notices for vehicles that violate the parking regulations. The National Transport Authority is responsible for the regulation of clamping.
Local authorities are allowed to tow-away vehicles that have been abandoned or illegally parked on a public road or in a local authority car park. Vehicles are towed to a car pound and you may be charged a significant fee for their release. If you think your car has been towed away, you should contact the local authority responsible for the area where you parked.
A motorist from other countries
Under a cross-border project with Northern Ireland, motorists from Northern Ireland who fail to pay parking fees or toll charges here can be pursued. The Driver and Vehicle Agency in Northern Ireland will forward the motorist's details to the appropriate local authority for parking offences or Transport Infrastructure Ireland (TII) for tolls. Similarly, if you fail to pay a parking fee or toll in Northern Ireland, your details can be passed to the authorities in Northern Ireland.
Motorists from other countries such as Poland, France or Germany can be pursued for non-payment of tolls through a separate arrangement which Transport Infrastructure Ireland has with these countries. It uses the services of a specialist parking and tolling enforcement agency.
Different fines apply depending on where your car has been ticketed, clamped or towed away from. The cost of the fine also depends on whether you have parked in a statutory area or a non-statutory area.
A statutory area is an area under the direction of a local authority. Examples of statutory areas include public roads, airports and harbours.
A non-statutory area is an area not under the direction of a local authority. This includes private car parks and private residential parking.
Rates in statutory areas (public road, airport, or harbour)
If you commit a parking offence in a statutory area, you may get a fine, have your vehicle clamped, or have your vehicle impounded. There is a system of fixed charge fines for illegal parking and other related offences.
Rates in non-statutory areas (private carpark or private residential parking)
If you park your vehicle in a non-statutory area and fail to pay the relevant parking fee, or your ticket has expired, your vehicle may be clamped. Your vehicle may also be clamped if you breach the terms and conditions that apply where you parked.
The maximum fees for clamping, re-locating and impounding vehicles in non-statutory areas are:
|Where your vehicle has been clamped||€125|
|Where your vehicle has been relocated within a clamping place||€50|
|Where your vehicle has been relocated within a clamping place and clamped||€150|
|Where your vehicle has been relocated to a pound||€150 and an additional €50 in respect of each additional day (or part thereof) the vehicle is situated in the pound.|
There are a number of Acts and regulations that govern parking and clamping including:
- The underlying legislation in relation to road traffic offences is generally the Road Traffic Acts 1961 to 2022.
- Section 101B of the Road Traffic Act, 1961: provides for vehicle clamping.
- The Road Traffic Act, 1994: which gives local authorities the power to make bye-laws governing the type of paid parking controls in their areas, for example, disc parking or pay-and-display parking.
- The Road Traffic Act 2010: provides for the system of fixed-charge traffic and parking offences.
- The Vehicle Clamping Act, 2015: makes the National Transport Authority responsible for the regulation of clamping.
- The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997 as amended: provide for the general regulation and control of traffic, pedestrians and parking.
- The Road Traffic (Signs) Regulations, 1997 as amended: give local authorities responsibility for authorising regulatory traffic signs and designating areas where parking is restricted or prohibited.
- The Vehicle Clamping and Signing Regulations, 2017 (pdf): set the maximum fees for clamping, re-locating and impounding vehicles in certain areas.
How to make a complaint or appeal
Vehicle clamping complaints can be made to the NTA using this form.
If you want to appeal a clamping or relocation
If you are clamped and want to appeal the clamping or a relocation, you should contact the parking controller. Information on the parking controller is usually found on either the clamping notice or the receipt for payment of the clamp release fee. You should give details of the situation and enclose any documents that could help your case. Most complaints will be acknowledged within a few days. Your appeal will be investigated and you should receive a response within 21 days. If dissatisfied with the outcome of your appeal, you may then be able to further appeal again to the National Transport Authority (NTA).
If you want to appeal a parking ticket
You can also appeal a parking ticket issued in a local authority area, if you feel you have been fined unfairly. Take as much detail of the scene as you can (photographs, details of road markings, etc.) and send them to the local authority traffic division with your parking ticket and a letter outlining your complaint.
Note that the NTA has no role in parking fine appeals, and these should be addressed to the local authority.