A suggestion that people who park in disabled spaces and cycle lanes, despite not being eligible to do so, should be hit with penalty points, was the subject of lively debate at yesterday’s Meath County Council meeting.

The discussion arose when the following motion from Fine Gael’s Alan Tobin was put to the floor, “That Meath County Council asks the Minister for Transport to consider penalty points for road traffic violations as an added deterrent to the fines already in place for the following parking offences:

  • In disability space • On a footpath • On a cycle lane • Taxi rank • Loading bay •Within 5m of a road junction • Within 15m of a pedestrian crossing”

Tobin claimed that he got support from the Navan Cycling Initiative.

The consensus seemed to be that the basic idea was full of merit but a few minor adjustments were required.

Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Padraig Fitzsimons said that “writing to consider penalty points is a step too far”. While he did have an understanding for disabled people, he claimed that “fines are ok, but penalty points are very severe, one can lose their licence over this”. He pleaded for a “common sense approach”.

His party colleague Cllr Thomas Behan submitted an amendment to the motion asking for the removal of “penalty points” to “stricter penalties”.

Behan claimed contrary to what Tobin said, it is “not a minority in our area, it is a common occurrence”. Like Fitzsimons, he reiterated the point that people could lose their licence “in a matter of weeks”. He made the suggestion that the Gardaí need to start “policing it better”.

Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Damian Reilly feared that we were “moving towards a police state, a Korean state” and that he could only accept “disability space” in the motion.

In the heel of the hunt, what is a decent proposal was passed after the adoption of Behan’s amendment.