‘We’ve enjoyed the revenue’ – Is clamping now all about money?

Clamping raises millions of euro in revenue for Dublin City Council every year.
James Wilson
James Wilson

11.09 19 Dec 2023

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‘We’ve enjoyed the revenue’ –...

‘We’ve enjoyed the revenue’ – Is clamping now all about money?

James Wilson
James Wilson

11.09 19 Dec 2023

Share this article

Car clamping in Dublin has become little more than a revenue raising exercise, a local councillor has claimed.

In the first 11 months of 2023, some 42,000 vehicles were clamped in the Dublin City Council (DCC) area, raising around €5 million for the city.

For a long time, the fee to get your car unclamped was €80 but last year it was put up to €125. 


“We increased that for revenue raising,” Fine Gael Councillor James Geoghegan told Sarah Madden for Newstalk Breakfast

“We’re constantly, as a local authority, trying to balance our books and generate more money that we as elected members can put back into our community.”

Cllr Geoghegan said there is “nothing worse” than someone parking in a disabled spot but feels that is not what clampers are on the lookout for. 

“What I find is that they really go after the easy pickings,” he said. 

“People who have parked correctly in an allocated parking space and are maybe 30 minutes outside of their ticket. 

“I drop my son to school on my bike every morning in Rathmines and I see them hiding around the corner waiting and a lot of that would be parents potentially dropping their kids to school in the mornings. 

“That’s not actually what clamping was designed to do.” 

Clamper A Dublin City Council worker in the clamping department looks at a car on Merrion Square in Dublin. Photo: Sam Boal/Phototcall Ireland

Cllr Geoghegan feels it is now often just about money rather than deterrence.  

“The number of clampers is actually increasing,” he said. 

“I think in the last five years, we’ve got a bit lazy and we’ve enjoyed the revenue that’s come in and I think the operators are having a field day.” 

Unhappy Ranelagh residents

The most clamped area of Dublin is Ranelagh and local businesses were withering in their assessment of the practice.  

“We’ve had a lot of experience with clampers,” Catherine from Anastasia Boutique said. 

“They target busy times; we’ve even had customers running out in the middle of a Saturday afternoon, half-dressed across the street in a total flurry.” 

Hillary’s Salon has even taken to issuing warnings to customers about the risk of clamping. 

“More people use taxis around here now because of the clamping,” employee Ryan said. 

“We have a lot of people complaining it’s taking them a lot of time to find parking as well, so they have to go further out because of the prices and the fear of being clamped.” 

Brian from Expert Hardware described it as having a “big impact” on local businesses.

“Only yesterday, a very elderly gentleman, he was only in here two minutes getting a key cut,” he said. 

“He parked outside and by the time I cut one key, the car was gone.” 


Despite their complaints, transport expert Conor Faughnan said things are unlikely to change anytime soon. 

Prior to 1997, Dublin City Council issued on-the-spot fines - but fewer people seemed to care. 

“They don’t work terribly effectively,” Mr Faughnan said. 

“They just don’t; the path for collecting them is very poor and even when you do collect them, they tend not to have the same deterrent effect as a clamp. 

“If you’re running late for a meeting and you need to park somewhere and there’s a parking space but it’s an illegal one and you’ve no change or whatever it is, the thought that you could be clamped is much more likely to prevent the behaviour than the thought that you might be fined.”

Anyone who feels they have been unjustly clamped, may appeal to the National Transport Authority.

You can listen back here:

Main image: A clamped car. 

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