The easing of Covid-19 restrictions saw parking fines almost double in Donegal in 2022, it has been revealed.
Information obtained under the Freedom of Information Act revealed that Donegal County Council issued 2,712 fixed charge penalty notices in 2021.
In the first 10 months of 2022, the local authority issued a whopping 4,237 fixed charge penalty notices.
A spokesperson for Donegal County Council said: “The numbers in 2020 and 2021 reflected the Covid-19 global pandemic with restrictions lifted in 2022.”
Councillor Niamh Kennedy (Ind), said illegal parking is a major issue, particularly in towns and rural areas outside Donegal Town itself.
Cllr Kennedy highlighted the need for more traffic wardens in rural towns and villages, as well as the need for gardaí to be encouraged to take more action on the issue of illegal parking.
“In my opinion, Donegal Town is not too bad in terms of illegal parking and the wardens are fairly active on the ground,” explained Cllr Kennedy.
“However, it is a disaster in other towns and rural areas and there is a case for more wardens in some of the more rural areas.
“People are parking on double yellow lines, on footpaths and in disabled parking spaces and it’s intolerable.
“I have seen it time and time again – people in wheelchairs who can’t get past a car parked on a footpath, cars parked on double yellow lines and cars parked in a disabled parking bay when it shouldn’t be. It’s a major issue.”
Cllr Kennedy highlighted the need for gardaí to be encouraged to issue more fines for illegal parking in the county, and indicated the need for a change of mindset when it comes to parking.
“We need to be proactive rather than reactive on this issue,” she said.
“There also needs to be a change of mindset in relation to parking throughout the country really. People are reluctant to park in a car park and walk to where they work, instead choosing to park on footpaths outside their places of work.”