Irish Rail generated almost €86,000 in car clamping fines during the first three months of the year, almost 30% of which was collected from two Cork stations alone.
Between January, February and March 2020, almost 500 fines, totalling €85,800, were accumulated due to car clamping at train stations nationwide.
However, almost 30% of this revenue is down to 212 fines issued at two busy Cork stations, Kent and Mallow.
At Kent station, 183 fines were issued during the first three months of the year, totalling €21,960. This represents a quarter of the overall fines generated during this time by Irish Rail.
In comparison, 61 fines were issued during the same timeframe in respect of car clamping at Dublin’s Heuston station, totalling €7,320.
At Mallow Station, 29 fines issued during the first three months of the year, generated €3,480 in fines.
No cars were clamped at Irish Rail stations in Carrigtwohill, Charleville, Midleton, Little Island or Glounthaune.
The figures are contained in a freedom of information request released to Sean Sherlock, Labour TD for East Cork.
“On the face of it there is an inconsistent car parking regime being enforced by Irish Rail,” Mr Sherlock said.
“Whether that revenue is going back into Irish Rail or to a private company remains to be answered.”
Given that some Irish Rail car parks do not operate parking fees, there should be an evaluation of whether this revenue generation model acts as a deterrent to potential rail commuters at a time when we want to see more people using public transport.
The figures show that three cars were clamped at Tralee Station during the first three months of the year, totalling €360 in fines.
At Killarney Station, five cars were clamped, resulting in €600 in fines.
At Limerick’s Colbert Station, nine fines were issued for clamped cars, at a total of €1,080.
Connolly Station saw 27 fines generate €3,240, and Galway's Ceannt Station saw 47 cars clamped, at a total of €5,640.
Louisa Bridge railway station, which serves Leixlip in County Kildare, saw 33 cars clamped, with fines totalling €3,960.
Separately, Irish Rail also refunded €8,400 following 70 successful appeals during January, February, March and April.
During those months, the rail company received 205 appeals, of which two-thirds were unsuccessful.
A spokeswoman for Irish Rail said that the vast majority of clamping revenue comes to the company. "The Parking Control company, take a small administration charge, per clamp."
There is a consistent parking charge regime across the network, where most car parks share common parking charges for commuter parking, she added. A limited number of city stations have city-based charges, she said.
"Car parking is an additional facility for those customers who drive to our station, and the modest charges applied are an important source of revenue."
There needs to be an effective deterrent to non-payment of parking charges or illegal parking, she added. "For the overwhelming majority who park and pay correctly, there is no issue."