How To Get A Disabled Parking Permit In Ireland
Apply For An EU Parking Permit
Maintaining your independence can be challenging if you have a physical or sensory disability. However, driving is one outlet that can provide a real sense of freedom. Not only does the ability to drive give a person living with a disability the means to travel from A to B without having to rely on friends, family or public transport, it can also open up a whole host of new opportunities that may not otherwise be available.
A number of laws help to facilitate increased mobility and accessibility for those people living with disabilities. These include laws outlined in the Equal Status Acts of 2000-2015 which protect the rights of disabled people when it comes to purchasing motor insurance, and the Disabled Drivers and Disabled Passengers Scheme which provides several tax relief privileges connected to the purchase, use and adaptation of specialist vehicles used by drivers and passengers with a disability. However, perhaps the most common scheme used by disabled drivers in Ireland, and across other EU member states, involves the EU parking permit.
In this blog, Chill Insurance explores the ins and outs of parking permits, providing answers to some of the most common questions that arise around this subject including how to apply for a disabled parking permit, how to renew your existing permit and what actually qualifies you to apply for one in the first place.
What Is The EU Parking Permit?
As the name suggests, the EU parking permit, also known as the Disabled Persons’ Parking Card and the EU Parking Card for People with disabilities, is issued to disabled drivers and passengers that meet the criteria outlined by the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland. Despite being an EU scheme, Member States are responsible for issuing permits and are encouraged to use their own legal definitions of disability when approving applications.
These permits are intended to increase accessibility to both public and private amenities and venues, such as shops, places of work and education, social venues, banks, and more, by providing ease of parking for those with disabilities. With this in mind, permit holders are able to park their vehicles in disabled parking spaces in public areas and car parks across Ireland and the rest of the EU.
Parking permits for people with disabilities cost €35 in Ireland and need renewing every two years. They are presented as a small but instantly recognisable blue card designed to be displayed on your windscreen. It’s worth noting that although these cards do increase accessibility for people with disabilities by allowing holders to park their vehicles in any disabled parking bay identified by the standard wheelchair symbol, they do not allow holders to park on double yellow lines, bus lanes or loading bays.
How Do I Apply For A Disabled Parking Permit?
In order to apply for a disabled parking permit in Ireland, you must either have a medical practitioner support your application with detailed evidence of your reduced level of mobility or other disability, or you must provide your own existing Primary Medical Certificate (PMC) as evidence. A PMC is a document issued by The Health Service Executive (HSE) following an examination carried out by an independent medical practitioner. It documents your specific disabilities in detail and outlines the support you could benefit from, including tax relief and accessibility support.
If you have PMC status, have been certified blind by The National Council of the Blind, a GP, or an optician, or your application has been supported by a medical practitioner, you can then apply for your permit card at one of two organisations - the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland or the Irish Wheelchair Association. Simply visit their websites and follow their simple application processes. As mentioned above, cards cost €35 and need to be renewed every two years. It’s also important to note that a Garda will be required to identify and sign your chosen card photo as part of your application.
How Do I Renew My Disabled Parking Permit?
Your parking permit must be renewed every two years, and expired cards immediately become invalid, meaning you will lose all your parking entitlements if you forget to renew. Fortunately, the renewal process is quick and easy.
Regardless of whether you applied for your card via the Disabled Drivers Association of Ireland or the Irish Wheelchair Association, you should receive a renewal reminder and a new application form a few weeks before your current parking card is set to expire. All you have to do is simply complete the form, remembering to update any details such as your address or surname, as well as listing any new conditions and details of any surgery or treatment that may have improved your mobility since your last application. Finally, you must pay a renewal fee of €35 and return your form.
It’s also important to remember that if you lose or misplace your card, or you believe it has been stolen, you will have to contact the organisation you originally applied with and request a replacement application form. If you do this, you will have to ask a Garda to support your application with details on the loss or theft of your card and by countersigning your form. You will also have to pay another €35 application fee.
Which Disabilities Qualify For Disabled Parking?
Disabled parking bays and permits are reserved for those who, according to definitions set out by the Department of Transport’s ‘Review of the Disabled Parking Scheme 2010’, have ‘a permanent condition or disability that severely restricts their ability to walk’. This includes blindness.
As we touched upon above, as a rule of thumb, you will know if you have a disability which qualifies you for disabled parking and a parking permit if you have a mobility restricting condition and are a Primary Medical Certificate holder, you are already legally registered as blind, or a professional medical practitioner has presented sufficient supporting medical evidence to suggest you would benefit from being able to use disabled parking bays.
It is important to remember that although a parking permit can be used by the driver of a card holder if the holder is in the vehicle as a passenger, it is an offence to use someone else’s permit if the card holder is not in the vehicle. Violations caused by abusing or misusing a parking permit could see it’s immediate withdrawal.