Clamping problems in Carlow
Councillors have hit out at a recent spate of clamping in another prominent privately owned car park in Carlow Town.
Speaking at this month's meeting of Carlow County Council members expressed their concerns that the perception is that if you park in Carlow Town you'll be clamped.
Cllr Will Paton said all the good work of the Council is being undermined and it is "self-defeating" from a business point of view too.
He appealed to those involved in clamping to think "very carefully" because if "people stop coming to the town, business will cease".
The latest bout of clamping has taken place at Woodies car park - also known as Carlow Retail Park - although the DIY franchise is not responsible for the clamping and has nothing to do with it.
However it's understood there have only been five cars clamped at the Carlow Retail Car Park since the beginning of the year with a number of incidents also reported earlier this year at the old L&N car park on Tullow Street.
Cllr Fintan Phelan highlighted one incident at the car park where a woman shopped in Woodies and went across the road to Costa for a coffee and when she returned to her car she was clamped.
Signs in the car park clearly outline the parking rules which dictate that the car park is for customers of the retail park only and shoppers can park for a maximum of three hours and if they are seen to leave the car park they can be clamped.
Cllr Fergal Browne said it is a "new low" and is a "very worrying development".
He said: "Somebody is monitoring people's movements and then clamping them, it's fundamentally wrong. It's illogical and counter-productive. The car park is never full anyway. There was never an issue before, why suddenly are they clamping at this stage?"
Cllr Brian O'Donoghue said it "is a private car park so what can be done" while Cllr Tommy Murphy also expressed concern about interfering with how a private business operates in the town.
Senior Executive Officer at Carlow County Council, Eamonn Brophy, said a person who owns a private car park can do what they like once the signage is within planning regulations.
"We have to bear in mind, just because we don't like what's going on, doesn't mean we can control it," he warned and said people could appeal the clamping decision to the regulator, the National Transport Authority.
Cllr Phelan said the local authority "need to be taking a lead on this" while Cllr Andrea Dalton said there was no problem people clamping in private car parks once people are reasonably notified with signage as otherwise it is "unfair and unjust".