Motorists in Waterford City or county who repeatedly refuse to pay will have their vehicles towed or clamped, under a new policy.
With some drivers accumulating up to 40 unpaid tickets, the council agreed to introduce, for the first time, a clamping culture in the city and county. It currently operates a tow-away for persistent offenders.
The council’s director of services, Fergus Galvin, told the meeting non-payment of parking fines had become a “serious issue”.
He said, under the new policy, a vehicle with at least five outstanding unpaid parking tickets would be liable for towing or clamping.
Clamping, he said, would only apply where towing becomes impractical, such as when a vehicle is hemmed in or otherwise inaccessible.
Mr Galvin said the plans are a response to a time- consuming and “extremely difficult” process of prosecuting offenders who “do not accept registered post or have incomplete or wrong addresses on their vehicle registration details”.
Under the plan, a traffic warden will alert the council’s fines office and if certain criteria are met, the office will decide if clamping or towing away is applied.
Independent councillor Mary Roche said the council was entering “a slippery slope” by introducing a clamping culture, that it could evolve to “clamping someone who is a half hour over-parked”.
Independent councillor Joe Conway backed the plan, noting that some drivers had more than 40 unpaid fines.