The recent increase in fines for illegal parking in disabled spaces has sparked a call for better signage in towns across Donegal.
Local drivers say they are being landed with fines at times when they were not aware of being in a disabled bay, as Councillors call for better-placed signage to mark the designated zones.
This month, the fixed charge for motorists parking in disabled spots without displaying a valid permit has increased from €80 to €150 if paid within the first 28 days.
Stranorlar area Cllr Liam Doherty raised a motion at yesterday’s county council meeting seeking adequate signage and notices of the new fines at Disabled Parking Bays in Donegal.
Cllr Doherty said: “I have been contacted by a number of people in communities all over the county. People have been fined for parking illegally in disabled bays, but have been unaware they are in disabled bays by the signage.”
He said some people have been oblivious to the markings due to roads being retarred or worn down after times of snow and heavy frost.
Cllr Doherty said he felt new warnings of the €150 fine would act as a deterrent to illegal parkers, as well as elevated signs helping disabled drivers find zones when they are visiting new towns.
The council confirmed that a selection of key locations in different towns could be identified to get new signage first. The cost would be charged against local maintenance budgets and it is recommended that between 5 and 10 locations would be selected by local Municipal Districts as a pilot project.
Betty Holmes of Donegal Action for Cancer Care welcomed the motion, but added that she was disappointed the new signage would not be installed in all public disabled parking bays.
Ms Holmes said: “It is important that the signage is erected so it can be seen.
“We had asked for a time frame of 6 months to be agreed for this to happen so we will now keep the pressure on to ensure it does.”
She added: “We will now take this a step further to look at signage within private business parking areas. We are delighted that Frank Larkin has been in touch with us regarding this so we will be moving this forward very soon.”