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Pensioner says clamping of his car in hospital parking area is not legal

Because of an unsavoury accident recently in the parking lot of a public hospital in south County Dublin, I have discovered that clamping is not authorised by law.

I am an elderly man. I brought my chronically ill, invalided wife for a physical check-up before 9am. She was discharged four hours later. When I went to the parking lot, I was shocked that our car had been clamped. According to a witness, this was done five minutes earlier.

As on former occasions, I photographed — in good faith — the disc issued to my wife by the Irish Wheelchair Association, which would expire on October 1, 2015. The renewed disc has since arrived. Despite using copies down the years, and parking in several venues, including the hospital in question, no one was callous or greedy enough to clamp my car.

This act of mine, which the clamper claimed is illegal, was his excuse for clamping our car and refusing to release it until I paid €80. Fortunately, especially for my distressed wife, I was carrying €100, which I had withdrawn from the post office to pay schoolboys who helped me part-time to excavate the site of a small toilet that I am building in slow motion. Since I am in my mid-seventies and have two artificial valves in my heart, and am suffering from high blood-pressure and hypertension, I was so distressed that I visited the Citizens’ Advice Office, where I learned that clamping is an infringement upon the motoring rights of citizens and is not governed by legislation. For incidence, within the last three months alone, my 1998 Dublin-registered car has cost me €385 in taxation and €700 in insurance. Two days earlier, I took it for the NCT, which cost €55; I paid my garage €79 for its service; the lights having failed, I had to repeat the NCT test, which cost another €28. I was informed that clampers earn €20 for every clamp; they are employed by an English company; it is predicted that their vulture-like service shall be extended throughout Ireland. This scourge must be vigorously resisted. People have advised that I seek a refund from the clamper’s company. They all agree that clamping is unfair and should not be permitted within the hospital grounds — or anywhere else; I intend writing to the Minister for Health, the Minister for Justice, and the Taoiseach.

Daniel MacCarron

Santa Martha

Westfield Park

Bray

Co Wicklow


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