Gardaí have begun a crackdown on individuals parking illegally in disabled spots across the city centre.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said the operation was ongoing and they were keeping a very close eye on anyone who might be trying to park illegally.
“Any breaches of the parking by-laws will be reprimanded accordingly.”
Cork’s top cop said that the operation was being carried out by the Traffic Corps as well as City Council Traffic Wardens and Gardaí from the four districts were also keeping an eye out.
Inspector of Cork’s Divisional Traffic Corps, Finbarr O’Sullivan said there were two main issues: Able-bodied people parking in disabled spots and cars with disabled badges being parked places they shouldn’t be.
Insp O’Sullivan said the blue badge is not a “get out of jail free card” and people still needed to pay attention to where they can and cannot park.
“We have to keep traffic moving, but to be fair to them I can park in any parking lot, they are limited in that they have to park close to a location so they are fairly restricted and we would look upon the situation humanely and with empathy.
“For the people who have cars and who are parking somewhere they shouldn’t, we wouldn’t look upon it as kindly," Insp O'Sullivan warned.
“We have to track these people, watching the same spot at the same time, it is a big investment of resources, so we take the matter seriously.”
Lord Mayor Tony Fitzgerald the main concern is that the people who need the disability spots should get priority.
“People who have disability and mobility issues need to be the first priority in terms of making the spaces available in the city centre."
“We are an age-friendly city, we are a healthy city and it is important that the needs of the passengers or the drivers with mobility issues have full access to the facilities of the city centre and it is for them and them only.”
The operation to tackle the issue, which is intelligence led, focuses on complaints made to the Gardaí and to City Hall.
“They get complaints and we get complaints and we look at locations at certain times, in consultation,” Insp O’Sullivan said.
“In the last month we have started a target operation and it is based on information given to us by people who have contacted ourselves or City Hall.
“We are delighted to get this information because sometimes it may be a mistake and we would issue a caution, but if we felt it was a fault, then people are being prosecuted in court of course for the offence.”
Insp O’Sullivan encouraged people who see an abuse of disability parking to report it to either City Hall or any Garda Station.
“If you spot an offender, we would ask people to report the matter, you can do so anonymously and we will take action on the complaint.”