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 ensure that illegal parking does not cause obstructions for other motorists, businesses or impinge on the safety of pedestrians.
Most local authorities employ traffic wardens to enforce the parking regulations and issue fines. Members of An Garda Siochána also have this authority. Your local authority is responsible for creating bye-laws that list the places in your area where parking fees will be imposed. It also decides the cost of parking fees.
Your local authority must consult with the Garda Commissioner and give public notice of their intention to make bye-laws that will restrict parking. For example, they may take out advertisements in local newspapers or radio to inform people about the proposed changes. The local authority is obliged to consider any observations or objections that result from this process.
Parking fees vary in Ireland and can be set and adjusted by your local authority. The discrepancies that exist between parking fees in cities and smaller towns are attributed to the increased costs of providing and maintaining the service in cities.
Revenue generated from public parking fees and fines is used to cover the costs of operating these services. Surplus revenue from these services contributes to urban renewal programmes, public facilities and other forms of local authority spending.
There are a number of laws and regulations that govern parking and clamping including:
- The Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations, 1997: provide for the general regulation and control of traffic, pedestrians and parking.
- 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 (Signs) Regulations, 1997: give local authorities responsibility for authorising regulatory traffic signs and designating areas where parking is restricted or prohibited.
- Section 11 of the Road Traffic Act, 2002: provides for the system of fixed-charge traffic and parking offences.
- Section 101B of the Road Traffic Act, 1961: provides for vehicle clamping.
- The Vehicle Clamping Act, 2015: makes the National Transport Authority responsible for the regulation of clamping.
- The Vehicle Clamping and Signing Regulations, 2017: set the maximum fees for clamping, re-locating and impounding vehicles in certain areas.
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 will be signs in areas where you have to 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 purchasing a parking disc in a participating newsagents or shop. The disc should be displayed clearly on your windscreen. This service operates 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 will be issued with one permit, and no more than four permits will be 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, and generally range from around 80 cent to €4.00 per hour. 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. View our document on Parking Permits for Disabled Drivers.
If parking restrictions in an area are going to change, these changes must be approved by the local council, who will make the necessary changes to the existing bye-laws. Changes might be requested by a shop-owner who wants to have an area outside their premises marked as a loading bay. Residents' associations often request that parking restrictions be introduced into their area. Anyone requesting changes to existing parking restrictions must contact their local county council representative or the traffic division of the local authority. The request will then be brought up for consideration at the local county council meeting. If it is deemed to have merit, a bye-law will be passed and information signs will be erected in the area giving people details of the restrictions in place.
Enforcement of parking regulations
Traffic wardens and An Garda Síochána have the power to advise motorists of parking regulations and issue tickets for illegal parking and non-payment of parking fees. They may also give evidence in court in relation to the non-payment of fines.
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 with a fine. The parking ticket contains:
- a reference number
- the location of the offence
- the registration number of the car
- the amount of the fine
- the date and time the ticket was issued
Most traffic wardens use a handheld computerised device to issue tickets and the local authority keeps a record of all tickets issued in a database.
Under this system, if you receive 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 per cent. 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 operated by private companies on behalf of the local authority. Employees of the vehicle clamping company are entitled to clamp vehicles and issue clamping notices for vehicles that are in violation of the parking regulations. The National Transport Authority is responsible for the regulation of clamping.
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
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
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.|
How to apply
Complaints and appeals
If you are clamped in a statutory area (an area under the direction of a local authority), and want to make a complaint or appeal the clamping fee, you should contact your local authority. You should write to or email the relevant authorities to make your complaint. 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 claim will be investigated and you should receive a response within a month.
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.
If you are clamped or have your vehicle relocated from a non-statutory area, such as a private car park, and you want to appeal the decision, you should complain to the owner of the parking place in writing, within 60 days of the date of getting the clamp.
If your clamping appeal is unsuccessful and you are not satisfied with the outcome, you can further appeal the decision to the National Transport Authority (NTA). Note that the NTA has no role in parking fine appeals, and these should be addressed to the local authority.