KILDARE County Council has changed arrangements for its staff on parking permits after it was criticised by a District Court judge.
This week, a Council spokesperson confirmed to the Leinster Leader that the outcome of the decision by Judge Desmond Zaidan to dismiss charges brought by the Council against one of its own litter/traffic wardens, Noel Geoghegan, has led to a change of policy.
The case, highlighted in this week’s Leinster Leader, was heard at Kilcock District Court on February 18. The Council attempted to prosecute Mr Geoghegan for parking offences after he had been given a ticket while working for the Council on litter duties in Newbridge on May 28, 2013. Under current bye-laws, a traffic warden is exempt from pay parking while they are on duty for the council. However, Mr Geoghegan was working on anti-litter duties at the time of getting the ticket. Judge Zaidan said he was “appalled” by the way Mr Geoghegan had been treated.
Council spokesperson, Annette Aspell, said the outcome of the judgement is that a litter/traffic warden is now exempt from the parking bye-laws when carrying out his/her duties. “The council fully accepts the decision in this case and will issue parking permits to a relatively small number of staff where such is deemed necessary.”
At last Monday’s monthly meeting of the Council (24 February), Deputy County Manager, Joe Boland, said of the decision to take the case: “In hindsight, it should not have been brought to court but it does reinforce the integrity of the systems.” He was speaking after Cllr. Suzanne Doyle called for an independent parking appeals panel.
A number of aspects of the pay parking system are being questioned.
Cllr. Michael Nolan said the case should never have gone to Court. He added: “I’m glad the judge saw common sense.”
Following a call by Celbridge area councillors on 21 Februar, for a return to using the Council’s own staff, as opposed to contractors, to implement parking bye laws, parking issues were raised by Cllr. Suzanne Doyle at the 24 February meeting. She called for an independent appeals panel.
Mr. Boland said the system was being operated in a fair manner and there was no financial incentive for parking contractors to give tickets.
Cllr. Frank O’Rourke said the mechanism of enforcement needs to be looked at.
The issues raised will be considered by the Council.