Disabled Parking Permit Scheme

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Origins of the Disabled Parking Permit Scheme

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Disabled Persons Parking permit image

The Disabled Parking Permit scheme was born out of a basic necessity to maintain independence for people with limited mobility. A person with a disability requires access to a disabled parking bay because of its size and access to amenities and facilities. An accessible parking bay is larger than the standard parking space which enables a driver or passenger to transfer into their wheelchair or alighting from their vehicle. Additionally, accessible parking bays are located near amenities in order for people to access; work, education, public transport, post office, shops, bank, social events, etc. The value of accessible parking bays cannot be underestimated as their availability supports disabled people’s right to inclusion.

Click here to see our DVD which highlights the importance of accessible parking bays for disabled motorists and passengers.

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Entitlement to the scheme

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The Disabled Parking Permit or Card (also known as European Parking Card or Disabled Parking Badge) are available to people living in Ireland with a permanent disability, medical condition, severe mobility difficulties and to people who are registered blind, whether they are drivers or passengers.

The parking permit enables the driver or passenger to avail of an accessible parking bay on public streets and public car parks. Designated accessible parking bays are also identified in many private car parks and supermarkets.

The parking permit can be used by a disabled person in any vehicle in which he or she is traveling. This means that a disabled person who is being driven at different times by different people can bring the parking card with himself or herself and display it in the appropriate vehicle.

In all circumstances the Disabled Parking Permit must be displayed so the permit’s expiry date, serial number and wheelchair symbol are clearly visible.

The provision for the disabled parking permit scheme is set down in Section 35 of the Road Traffic Act 1994 and SI 182/1997 Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 and is administered by the Irish Wheelchair Association and Disabled Drivers Association.

The Disabled Parking Permit is designed in accordance with EU legislation and is recognised in all EU states. The Permit is valid for two years from the date of issue. Generally, the card is not issued to anyone under 3 years of age.

Click here to read more about parking facilitates for people with disabilities in Ireland.

Recent changes to the Disabled Parking Permit Scheme

In order to improve and strengthen the current scheme a comprehensive review of the Disabled Parking Scheme, SI 239/2011 Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 was carried out in June 2011. A number of resulting changes were introduced to the Scheme which included:

Changes to the medical eligibility criteria to focus more on the level of mobility impairment

  • New measures to reduce the fraudulent use of permits
  • An increase in the size of some types of parking bays
  • The introduction of new types of disabled parking bays
  • Giving powers to local authorities to introduce time restricted parking spaces
  • New set-down and pick-up only disabled spaces

The Regulation also removed the exemption which applied to Parking Permit holders from the rule against parking again in the same public space within one hour.

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Qualifying for the scheme

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Under the Disabled Parking Permit scheme people who are (a) Primary Medical Certificate holders or (b) registered blind, are automatically eligibility to avail of the scheme. You must, however, formally apply.

If you do not meet the criteria automatically under these two categories you will be required to (c) visit a certified medical practitioner to have your application form completed.

a) Primary Medical Certificate Holders

The Primary Medical Certificate is issued by the HSE and states a person’s primary medical condition. For the application you will be required to enclose either:

  • A copy of your Primary Medical Certificate or
  • A copy of your Vehicle Registration Certificate detailing the tax exemptions.

An application Form for a Primary Medical Certificate can be obtained from your Local Health Office. You must complete the application form and return it to the Senior Medical Officer in your Local Health Office. The Senior Medical Officer will then appoint a HSE doctor to visit your home to carry out an assessment of the level of your disability. If you meet the medical criteria, you are then granted a Primary Medical Certificate by the Health Service Executive (HSE).

b) People who are registered blind are required to enclose a form certified by the National Council for the Blind. The required form can be obtained from the Irish Wheelchair Association or your local NCBI office. The certified form will need to be attached to the parking permit application. www.ncbi.ie

c) People who are not holders of the Primary Medical Certificate or registered blind, are required to have their application form completed by a certified medical practitioner. On receipt of the application form you need to make an appointment with a certified medical practitioner. See How to apply

The certified medical practitioner will conduct the assessment within the statutory definitions of the eligibility criteria for the Disabled Parking Permit scheme. The 2010 regulations state that a Disabled Parking Permit is granted to:

a person with a permanent condition or disability that severely restricts their ability to walk

This statutory definition is inclusive of a range of conditions which restrict mobility, for example lung and heart conditions.

The review of the Disabled Parking Scheme, SI 239/2011 Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) (Amendment) Regulations 2011 significantly changed the medical criteria to enhance the scheme by focusing more on the level of mobility impairment.

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How to apply

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STEP 1

Apply for an application form in writing

To obtain an application form for a Disabled Parking Permit from the Irish Wheelchair Association you should first apply in writing or have an advocate write on your behalf. In your letter you should give details about:

  • The nature of your disability or medical condition and how it affects your mobility.
  • The type of mobility aids that you use, if any.
  • Your age.
  • If you have a Primary Medical Certificate or are registered blind you should mention this in your letter.

Send your letter with a stamped addressed envelope to:
Parking Section, National Mobility Centre, Irish Wheelchair Association, Ballingnaggapa Road, Clane, Co Kildare.

STEP 2

On receipt of the application form, complete the form according to the category that applies to you

Category (a)

Check list for an applicant who is the holder of a Primary Medical Certificate

  • Complete all relevant sections on the application form
  • Include a copy of your Primary Medical Certificate or a copy of your Vehicle Registration Certificate detailing the tax exemptions.
  • Ensure the form has been countersigned and stamped by an Garda Siochana.
  • Enclose one recent passport sized photograph that is signed on the back by you the applicant.
  • Enclose a cheque or postal for the sum of €35 order made payable to the Irish Wheelchair Association
  • Return the completed application to the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Category (b)

Checklist for an applicant who is registered Blind

  • Complete all relevant sections on the application form
  • Ensure the application form has been countersigned and stamped by an Garda Siochana.
  • Enclose one recent passport sized photograph that is signed on the back by you the applicant.
  • Enclose a cheque or postal for the sum of €35 order made payable to the Irish Wheelchair Association
  • Include the additional form that has been certified by the National Council for the Blind. Link Qualifying for the scheme.
  • Return the completed application to the Irish Wheelchair Association.

Category (c)

Check list for an applicant who is required to visit a certified medical practitioner,

  • Complete all relevant sections on the application form
  • Check Section C of the form has been completed, signed and stamped by a certified medical practitioner
  • Ensure the form has been countersigned and stamped by an Garda Siochana.
  • Enclose one recent passport sized photograph that is signed on the back by you the applicant.
  • Enclose a cheque or postal for the sum of €35 order made payable to the Irish Wheelchair Association
  • Return the completed application to the Irish Wheelchair Association.

STEP 3

The Disabled Parking Permit is issued to applicant’s who meet the qualifying criteria of the scheme

The Irish Wheelchair Association as an issuing body of the scheme for the Department of Transport will review the information provided on the application form. Applicant’s that meet the required criteria will be issued a Disabled Parking Permit by post.

 

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Appeals process

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If your application for a Disabled Parking Permit is not successful you can appeal the decision.

The Irish Wheelchair Association operates an independent appeals process where your application will be reviewed by an independent medical health care professional. The appeal process will cost €35.

When an appeal has been successful the Irish Wheelchair Association will proceed by issuing the applicant a Disabled Parking Permit and reimburse the appeals fee of €35. The fee for issuing of the parking permit will still apply.

When an appeal is not successful, regretfully no permit will be issued and the appeals fee will not be reimbursed. For further information or queries on the appeals process, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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Conditions of use

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The Disabled Parking Permit Card is issued with terms and conditions attached, they are as follows:

Permit holders terms and conditions

  • The Parking Permit is for the sole use of the driver / passenger it has been issued to.
  • The Parking Permit is only to be used in a vehicle in which the Parking Permit holder is either the driver or the passenger.

Permit display terms and conditions

When the Disabled Parking Permit is in use, it must be displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle so that the card’s expiry date, serial number and wheelchair symbol is clearly visible from outside of the vehicle.

Please be advised that failure to display the Parking Permit when parked in a accessible parking bay may result in the vehicle being clamped.

A Parking Permit holder is legally obliged to present their card for examination by an Garda Siochana and Traffic Wardens.

Photocopies of a Disabled Parking Permit are not permitted for display when parking as they are invalid.

Permit Car Parking terms and conditions

In Ireland the Parking Permit enables the permit holder to park the vehicle in designated on-street accessible parking bay free of charge for an unlimited duration unless otherwise stated.

Generally, all street parking spaces or local authority car parks provide parking at no cost to the Permit holder.

The terms of the scheme do not cover private car parks, however, in practice the majority of private car parks recognise the Disabled Parking Permit as the basis for eligibility to park in the accessible spaces.

The Parking Permit does not entitle the permit holder to park in bus lanes, loading Bays, clearways, single or double yellow lines or any other restricted area.

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Location of Accessible Parking Bays

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There are a range of parking facilities available to people with disabilities in towns and cities throughout Ireland. Accessible parking bays are slightly wider than an average parking space and located near amenities to enable ease of access. These accessible parking bays are clearly marked by signs and road markings. Increasingly accessible parking bays are painted blue. Information on the location of disabled parking spaces can be obtained by contacting your local authority.

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Permit renewal

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The Disabled Parking Permit must be renewed by the holder every two years. An out of date Parking Permit is not valid and has no entitlement attached to it. The Parking Permit holder is required to renew their permit with the issuing body a month before the expiry date.

Irish Wheelchair Association, as an issuing body of the scheme, operates a renewal notice that is posted to a permit holder approximately four weeks prior to the permit’s expiry date. The renewal notification will be sent, automatically, to the address given on your original application. If a change of address has occurred in the intervening period, please notify us at Mobility Centre in Clane.

When renewing the Parking Permit you are required to advise Irish Wheelchair Association of any changes that may have occurred in your medical condition since your original application. Failure to do so may constitute obtaining a Disabled Parking Permit by fraudulent means. Please contact our office directly for further information or support with the renewal process.

Returning Parking Permits that are no longer required by the holder.

Irish Wheelchair Association as an issuing body of the Parking Permit’s kindly request that a Parking Permit belonging to a deceased permit holder is returned to the Mobility Centre in Clane.

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Lost / Stolen / replacement permits

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If your Disabled Parking Permit has been lost or stolen, contact us directly at Irish Wheelchair Association, Mobility Centre, Clane. We will issue you a replacement application form. The form requires An Garda Siochana to complete the details on the loss or theft of your parking permit and for you to countersign the form in the presence of the Garda. A fee of €35 will apply to replace your lost or stolen Disabled Parking Permit.

Replacing a damaged Disabled Parking Permit

To replace an existing parking permit that has been damaged or disfigured please contact IWA Mobility centre Clane. The standard fee of €35 will apply for a replacement permit.

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Misuse and Fines

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Traffic Wardens and members of An Garda Siochana have the power to request and inspect a Disabled Parking Permit to ensure it is not being misused. In response to the misuse of a Disabled Parking Permit the Irish Wheelchair Association, as an issuing body of the scheme, retains the right to withdraw the Disabled Parking Permit.

The misuse or duplication of a Disabled Parking Permit may constitute a criminal offence which under the Road Traffic Act is punishable by a fine of up to €2000 or three months imprisonment.

Parking offences in an accessible parking bays

It is an offence to park a vehicle in an accessible parking bay unless you have a current, valid, Disabled Parking Permit. If you illegally park in an accessible parking bay, you will incur a fine of €80.00, with 28 days to pay. If you fail to pay that fine within 28 days, the fine increases to €120.00. More information on parking offences is available here.

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European and International use of the Irish Disabled Parking Permit

The Disabled Parking Permit, also known as a 'European Parking Card' can be used within the 27 member states of the EU. The Permits are also, generally, recognised in the USA and Canada.

As entitlements attached to the disabled parking permits vary from country to country, it is advisable to check the terms and conditions of use before you travel. It is important to be aware and observant of each country’s parking laws and restrictions. The EU Commission has produced a publication,  Parking card for people with disabilities in the European Union (pdf) to assist people travelling abroad.

If you are travelling in the UK, particular attention should be paid the disabled parking permit restrictions that apply to the London area. For further information click this link.

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Contact details

In regard to the Disabled Parking Permit Scheme, please contact us at:

Parking Section
National Mobility Centre
Irish Wheelchair Association
Ballingnaggapa Road
Clane, Co Kildare

Phone: 045 893 094
Phone: 045 893 095
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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DVD's to watch

Vehicle Adaptions and Driver Training

Duration: 9mins 47secs

Outlines the variety of vehicle adaptations, driving tuition and the assessment process.

Your space or mine?

Duration: 2mins 20secs

Highlights the importance of the disabled parking bay to a driver or passenger with a disability.