Cork's Kent Station a hotspot as Irish Rail take €390,000 from clamping of cars

The rail operator clamped just short of 4,300 vehicles in total, with motorists generally forced to pay out a €120 fee to have the clamp removed
Cork's Kent Station a hotspot as Irish Rail take €390,000 from clamping of cars

In Kent Station, 786 motorists were immobilised at the busy city station in 2021, of the 2,209 cars that were clamped in total at railway stations around Ireland. Picture: Andy Gibson.

Irish Rail has taken in nearly €390,000 from the clamping of cars since last year with almost a third of the immobilisations taking place at Kent Station in Cork city.

The rail operator clamped just short of 4,300 vehicles in total, with motorists generally forced to pay out a €120 fee to have the clamp removed.

Kent Station in Cork was the national hotspot for clamping with 786 motorists immobilised at the busy city station in 2021, of the 2,209 cars that were clamped in total at railway stations around Ireland. It has retained top spot so far this year accounting for 563 clampings from a nationwide tally of 2,083 cars immobilised.

Irish Rail is on target to increase its clamping revenue this year with €192,960 collected in the period up until mid-October. That compares to the €195,100 in revenue that was taken in during the entirety of 2021, according to data released under FOI.

Nearly a quarter of clamping fines have been appealed to Irish Rail by motorists unhappy with the decision to immobilise their cars. Irish Rail said there had been 460 appeals last year and a further 502 this year.

However, they declined to say how many were successful claiming release of that information could put them “at a disadvantage at the tendering stage for a new contract” for clamping services.

With Kent Station in Cork taking the top spot for clamping at rail stations, next on the list was Heuston Station in Dublin. The figures show that 394 cars were clamped at Heuston in 2021 with another 260 immobilisations taking place there up to mid-October of this year.

Ceannt Station in Galway also had high levels of clamping activity with 157 cars immobilised last year and another 208 this year. Sallins, a busy commuter station near Naas, Co. Kildare, was next with 69 cars clamped in 2021 and a major upsurge in activity this year with 127 vehicles immobilised.

Other stations where clamping was a regular occurrence included Rush and Lusk in North Dublin (120 total), Booterstown DART station in Dublin (84 total), Colbert Station in Limerick (169 total), and Connolly Station in Dublin (153 total).

A spokeswoman for Irish Rail said the clamping release fee at all of their stations was €120 but that some car parks on the network were owned and operated by third parties, meaning rates could differ at those stations.

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, and clamping is the most effective deterrent there is.

“For the overwhelming majority who park and pay correctly, there is no issue. Where clamping occurs, upon payment our car parking contractor responds to remove clamps at all times, including after last train services at night.”

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