UK outlaws ‘cowboy clampers’ but Irish Govt continues to ignore it – George Lee
- Scots prosecuted clampers for extortion, same should be done here
The UK Government, in the Queen’s speech announced that ‘cowboy clampers’ are to be tackled by introducing a licensing system in England and Wales. This comes on the back of the outlawing of clamping on private land in Scotland, Fine Gael Dublin South TD George Lee said.
Deputy Lee added that Ireland, in comparison, has no laws governing clampers and that these ‘cowboys’ are free to operate with impunity.
“The scandal of ‘cowboy clampers’ operating in any manner they please continues in Ireland while our UK counterparts have seen sense.
“Since 1992, clamping on private land has been outlawed in Scotland and, now, England and Wales are following suit by introducing a licensing system that will stamp out the sharp practices of rogue clampers. The new legislation will also limit the size of the clamping penalties that can be imposed, regulate towing-away practices and put in place an effective and fair appeals process.
“In Ireland, however, unscrupulous clampers can operate at will, charging exactly what they please and often clamping cars that are parked perfectly legally. They can operate in this manner as there is no legislation governing clampers in Ireland. In essence, anybody can set up a clamping company and go around clamping people’s cars.
“As I previously revealed, there are numerous examples of these ‘cowboys’ ripping-off drivers. In the Churchtown car park alone:
• A woman’s car was clamped while she was helping her 86 year old father walk across to the barber’s in his Zimmer frame.
• An 85 year old pensioner was clamped because her ticket had fallen onto her driver’s seat. It was still visible and readable from outside the car.
• Numerous customers were clamped while going into the shops to get change.
• Bins were placed in front of the pay and display signs, leaving motorists unaware that they had to pay for parking.
• Cars were clamped when the ticket machine was out of order.
“It is past time that Ireland followed the UK example and introduced legislation that banned this type of practice. The authorities in Scotland were so serious about tackling rogue clampers that some were prosecuted for extortion when they illegally clamped cars. The same should be considered here along with a comprehensive licensing system.”