The number of cars clamped at one of the country's busiest train stations has risen by over 75% in two years, figures released by Irish Rail have revealed.
The clamping of cars at train stations has drawn criticism, with one local election candidate estimating that the practice has generated roughly €235,000 in Cork's Kent Station alone in the past three years.
The figures released by Irish Rail show:
The figures were revealed following a Freedom of Information request from Peter Horgan, Labour’s candidate for the Cork City Council South East Ward.
"I think that clamping on public land is a bad agenda in parking enforcement,” Mr Horgan said.
“We shouldn’t be clamping cars at the train station especially within the city limits. There are better ways to conduct enforcement through fines.
“It also raises safety issues if someone was to arrive back to Kent late at night and see a clamp on their car, rightly or wrongly.
"They may not be in a position there and then to remove the clamp. By my estimates that is over €235,000 generated at Kent alone in three years," he said.
Last year private operators APCOA replaced Parkbytext as the car parking operators at Iarnród Éireann stations.
Parking fares rose last year - having already increased in 2016.
Those who park at Kent Station, along with Dublin's Connolly and Heuston stations, and pay by machine are charged €9.50 per day to €112 for a monthly ticket, with cheaper rates offered to those who use APCOA's app.
Frequent commuters are charged €1,344 for an annual parking ticket.
Rates for stations outside Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Limerick cities range from €3.50 a day for those who pay by app, to €360 a year.
Any motorist who finds their car has been clamped and wants to appeal the action is directed by Irish Rail to submit a complaint to APCOA’s website.
Irish Rail was contacted for a response and said:
"The increase in clamping is broadly proportionate to car park usage, meaning that the primary factor is increased numbers parking at the station.
"There needs to be an effective deterrent to non-payment of parking charges or illegal parking, and clamping is the most effective deterrent there is. For the overwhelming majority who park and pay correctly, there is no issue. Our car parking contractor responds to remove clamps at all times, including last train services at night. There will also be staff / security personnel at the station at night"