AS IT’S revealed hundreds of Fermanagh motorists were fined in the past year for illegally parking in disabled spaces, such inconsiderate drivers are being urged to think of those who need the spaces.
The issue of drivers misusing disabled spaces is an ongoing frustration for blue badge holders in the county, and Fermanagh towns regularly features on social media sites such as the “Name’n’Shame Disables Parking Bay Abusers” Facebook page.
While progress tackling the issue has certainly been made in some areas locally, such as at the South West Acute Hospital where the Western Trust took proactive measures to stop the abuse, the Herald can reveal that in Enniskillen alone last year a total of 174 drivers were issued with parking charge notices (PCNs) for the offence.
The Department of Infrastructure has responsibility for disabled bays on streets, while Fermanagh and Omagh District Council is responsible for these spaces in public car parks. Traffic wardens are responsible enforcing the rules regarding disable bays, which are reserved solely for the use of officially-issued blue badge holders only.
According to the Department, last year 107 PCNs were issued in Enniskillen for parking in an on-street disabled bay. In car parks, FODC issued 121 PCNs throughout the district, 67 of which were issued in Enniskillen.
However, while the above figures would indicate the problem is rife in Enniskillen, Cllr Victor Warrington said he believed drivers in the town were not necessarily any more prone to parking in such spaces needlessly. Rather, he said, it was more likely an issue of enforcement, with the local “Redcoat” traffic wardens very active in Enniskillen.
Cllr Warrington, who is himself a blue badge holder, said he had noticed the “worst culprits” to be the likes of delivery men, and said young people could also do with being better informed on the issue.
“I think it’s a case where you have to say to people, ‘look, there are people who are in need of that space.’ As I’ve said before, you should count yourself lucky that you have the ability of mobility to walk. It’s as simple as that,” he said.
“People are going to continue to abuse them, and there’s really nothing we can do about that. Hopefully the likes of the traffic attendants and the PSNI would clamp down on people with a firmer hand who do abuse the spaces.
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere