The misuse of disabled parking bays and disabled parking permits were the issues highlighted at the launch of ‘Operation Enable’ at Sligo County Hall on Thursday.
‘Operation Enable’ launched at County Hall
This is a multi-agency initiative involving an Garda Síochána, Sligo County Council, Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers’ Association.
Deputising for the Cathaoirleach Cllr Tom MacSharry, Chair of Sligo County Council’s Disability Consultative Committee Councillor Declan Bree said ‘Our main objective at today’s launch is to highlight the issues involved for the general public, and to set out in simple terms the implications for non-compliance with the law in this regard.
Education and Deterrence
It is all too regularly that we witness incidents of appalling misuse of Disabled parking bays, it is an everyday occurrence due to the actions of a small minority of motorists. This is not an issue exclusively for the Gardaí and the traffic wardens, it is a challenge for the whole community to convey a forceful message that we will no longer tolerate these actions. It will require a process of education and a campaign of deterrence to convince the offending motorists that there will be implications for this behaviour, and there are severe penalties for people who are convicted of an offence under the relevant legislation.
Inspector Barry Doyle delivered a presentation on the law and enforcement procedures governing disabled parking bays and permits, and emphasised that ‘the value of accessible parking bays as their availability supports disabled people’s right to inclusion.’ He also noted that is an offence to alter, copy, forge fraudulently lend or allow a permit to be used by any other person.
Jeanette Beirne of the Irish Wheelchair Association commended the local agencies for leading out on the initiative, and said their offices were available at all times to offer advice and assistance.
Chief Superintendent Aidan Glacken said that while the ‘Operation Enable’ campaign will focus on the week of 9th to 16th December, the message should be conveyed clearly from this chamber that this will be an ongoing priority for all the agencies involved.’