Drivers ticketed as they help in wheelchair users

Fears that new parking wardens in Kilkenny City would adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach appear to have had some basis, with several distressed people contacting the Kilkenny People in recent days to recount their experiences.

Fears that new parking wardens in Kilkenny City would adopt a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach appear to have had some basis, with several distressed people contacting the Kilkenny People in recent days to recount their experiences.

A private German company, Afcoa, was in recent weeks contracted by Kilkenny local authorities to enforce the city’s parking laws, because the council feared it was losing out on revenue. Members of the public are concerned over what they say is the over-zealous conduct of the wardens.

One taxi driver, who has asked not to be named, says he can no longer afford to bring his regular wheelchair-bound passengers into town because when he leaves his vehicle to assist the disabled passengers into a shop, he was coming back moments later to find he had been ticketed.

The taxi driver, who is himself involved in the wheelchair association, says that the council’s own wardens are capable of using discretion when the situation required it, but this was not the case with the new team.

“I got a ticket as I was waiting for an elderly man,” he said.

“I have two wheelchair people and I just can’t bring them anymore, because you can’t park and roll them in now. One of them, a lady who is in a nursing home – if i roll her in now i get a ticket. I can’t leave the car for a minute to bring them in.”

“We have our own people here and there was no hassle until now,” he said.

“Now we have three people coming down here and throwing around tickets left, right and centre. Let people do their shopping. This is only driving people away.”

Councillor Joe Reidy flagged the issue of the new parking wardens four weeks ago, when he expressed concerns that a clampdown might discourage people from coming into town. He said he hoped there would not be an ‘iron-fisted approach’.