Leo Varadkar's proposal to "limit" clamping release fees to 80 is being reported on as if this is somehow a reasonable amount to charge.
I strongly disagree! 80 is a draconian penalty for what might be a very minor transgression of parking regulations. Not to mention the indignity and inconvenience of being delayed and the public embarrassment of being forced to wait at the clamped vehicle for the clampers to come and release it - irrespective of the fee charged for this "service".
Varadkar not for turning on
For myself, I would consider any threat of clamping my car for not paying the correct parking fee or for not correctly displaying the ticket (from which they removed the adhesive some time ago) for overstaying the parking period by a few minutes to be completely draconian!
Whatever happened to parking tickets with moderate penalties for minor parking transgressions? Why and how did it become the first step to put a clamp on a car thus delaying the freeing up of the occupied space?
The proposed maximum of 80 is a very substantial charge (ten times the hourly rate of minimum pay) and something like 20 (four or five times the parking fee) might be a more reasonable penalty with perhaps 40 for a second offence within a month.
Dublin City Council have put forward the disingenuous argument that statistics on repeat offences show that for a very small minority of people the clamping fee has weak deterrent value. Do these statistics reflect whether such repeat offenders have their clamping fees paid for by employers or their companies? for myself I consider the risk of clamping my car to be a very serious deterrent even if there were no release fee - the delay and embarrassment in themselves is worth taking the trouble to avoid.
For some very well off people, any clamping fee may be affordable but for most people the proposed 80 would represent a very severe and unaffordable imposition. Imagine someone in mortgage arrears or on welfare and barely able to make ends meet and getting caught by clampers for arriving back from say a job interview a few minutes late and having to find 80 just to get back the car they probably can barely afford to keep on the road. That is the reality of life for many people - a world far removed from the smug life of Dublin City Council officials and of the Minister.