Dempsey publishes review of Disabled Parking Scheme

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The Minister for Transport, Mr. Noel Dempsey T.D., has published the findings of his Department’s review of the Disabled Parking Scheme.  The Disabled Parking Scheme gives local authorities the power to designate special on-street parking bays for people with disabilities and to grant special parking permits to qualifying people with severely restricted mobility. The Scheme has been in operation since 1997 and the purpose of the review was to examine the existing operation of the Scheme, to make recommendations and suggest new measures to improve the Scheme.  The overall outcome of the review is to ensure that more specific disabled parking bays are available to those most in need of them.

Key recommendations from the review include:

§         Changing the medical eligibility criteria for the Disabled Person’s Parking permit
§         New measures to reduce the fraudulent use of permits
§         An increase in the size of some types of parking bays
§         The introduction of new types of disabled parking bays
§         Giving powers to local authorities to introduce time restricted parking spaces and
§         New set down and pick-up only disabled spaces.

Speaking today, Minister Dempsey said: “I have accepted the findings of the review and approved the proposed recommendations for amendment of the scheme. I wish to express my thanks to our colleagues in the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers Association, for their assistance in conducting the review.”

The review of the Disabled Parking Scheme was carried out by the Department of Transport, in co-operation with the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers Association.  Local Government and other disability interests were consulted, together with recommended consultants in the cardiac and respiratory fields.  In addition, the Garda National Traffic Bureau was consulted on enforcement issues.  The review also took into account the concerns that arose as a result of contacts with local authorities, Disability access groups and the general public.

The scheme was established to provide wider, longer parking bays close to services such as post offices, banks, pharmacies and shops for people for whom access to such services would be denied if they could not park and disembark either because of the size of a parking bay or because their limited mobility required that they park within a short distance of a service. The review examined the elements of the scheme and makes recommendations to secure the better functioning of the scheme with the positive objective being to ensure that more specific disabled parking bays are available to those most in need of them.

The Minister concluded: “These and the other recommendations of the review will be implemented by my Department and the issuing authorities between now and the end of 2010 through revised Regulations.  The new Disabled Drivers Permits will also incorporate improved anti-fraud measures to ensure that disabled parking bays in our towns and cities are available to those most in need of them.”