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Wardens take ‘tough stance’ as politicians seek to quash tickets

APPEALS: Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness and his son, Fianna Fáil councillor Andrew McGuinness, both made representations. Photo: Stephen Collins/ Collins Photos

Parking wardens in one county council are getting “demoralised” because there are so many requests to quash tickets, including some from politicians on behalf of constituents.

An official in Kilkenny said they would have to take a “tough stance” because requests to cancel parking fines were becoming so frequent.

Representations were received from TD John McGuinness, his son Andrew (a Fianna Fáil councillor), and Fine Gael councillor and former Kilkenny mayor Martin Brett.

In an email to Mr Brett, senior engineer at Kilkenny County Council, Ian Gardner wrote: “Our traffic wardens are being asked to enforce the parking by-laws often under very difficult circumstances. When tickets are cancelled without good cause, they find this demoralising.”

Mr Gardner said quashing tickets without valid reasons would “also reflect badly on the organisation from an audit viewpoint or in the context of a Freedom of Information request”. His email, which was sent in November last year, was released in response to such a request.

Mr Gardner said in the case that Mr Brett raised, the traffic warden had actually showed a degree of discretion and that the fine wasn’t issued until 40 minutes after the ticket had expired. Asked about the email, Mr Brett said: “You make a representation and you get nowhere with it, and you just move on.”

Fianna Fáil councillor Andrew McGuinness. Photo: Pat Moore

Fianna Fáil TD John McGuinness also submitted a representation in July 2019 on behalf of a person who had been facing a court appearance for non-payment.

He wrote to the council saying: “Can the matter be dealt with out of court as [the person] never got any correspondence until now?” In response, the council said the person in question had received “numerous parking fines in the past”. They said letters had been issued to the person on multiple occasions.

Andrew McGuinness also made representations on behalf of a person who had been working with him on a charity event earlier this month.

In emails, Kilkenny County Council said the person in question was “blocking others and also looks like it obstructed use of the wheelchair bay”. The parking fine stood.

In another case, John and Andrew McGuinness were successful in having a ticket overturned when a constituent parked using a photocopy of their disabled permit.

Just over two in three tickets in the Kilkenny County Council are actually paid, with only 68pc of all parking fines paid last year.

In a statement, a Kilkenny County Council spokeswoman said: “Any person has a right to appeal any traffic/parking fine. The council considers these appeals and makes decisions on individual circumstances.”

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