Clampers out in force as capital’s blackspot revealed

Dublin’s Merrion Square West has retained its status as the capital’s top clamping blackspot for catching motorists without valid parking tickets.

Clampers out in force as capital’s blackspot revealed

Motorists are more likely to have their vehicle clamped on Merrion Square West — a popular parking location for visitors to the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, and Dáil Éireann — than anywhere else in the city.

A total of 735 cars were clamped on Merrion Square West last year — an increase of 38 on the same location in 2013.

When all four sides of theGeorgian square are counted, a total of 1,769 vehicles were clamped last year, with Merrion Square South also featuring in the top 20 of the city’s clamping blackspots.

Mespil Rd on the banks of the Grand Canal is the second favourite target of clampers, followed by Upper Ormond Quay, Pearse St, and Waterloo Rd.

Four streets dropped out of the top 20 clamping blackspots, including Lower Dominick St, which was the location of the fourth highest number of clamps in 2013. Others were D’Olier St, Townsend St, and South Great George’s St.

New figures from Dublin City Council show a total of 56,601 vehicles were clamped in the capital last year — up 0.5% on the previous year.

Nevertheless, revenue from fees paid by the owners of clamped vehicles fell by 1.9% to €4.24m.

A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said the fall was explained by a variation in fees based on the length of time vehicles were impounded before they were retrieved by their owners.

Motorists face a €80 fee to have their clamped vehicle released, while the owners of cars which have been towed to the city pound face a minimum charge of €160 to reclaim their vehicle.

Income from paid parking tickets, however, rose 4.1% to €24.1m. Overall, revenue for the council from paid-parking and declamping fees remained relatively static at €28.34m.

The local authority’s parking appeals officer, William Keilthy, has recommended that the declamping fee should be increased by at least €50 to €130, as the current €80 fee has been unchanged since 1998.

An analysis of clamping data reveals vehicles are most likely to be clamped on Thursday, followed by Friday and Tuesday.

More vehicles in Dublin were clamped on a Saturday than on a Monday last year, while Sundays are traditionally the quietest weekday for clampers due to reduced parking restrictions.

Vehicles are most likely to be clamped in November, February, and October, while the fewest clampings occur during December, April, and August.

The busiest time of day for clampers is between 1pm-2pm and 8am-9am, while the quietest period during office hours is 3pm-4pm.

However, about 10% of all clamps are issued after 7pm, with one unlucky motorist having his vehicle clamped on Camden St at 4am for obstructing traffic.

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