I was both amused and disgusted to read a recent headline report in one of our local rags. It seems, many hurling fans attending what can only be described as a "needle" match between our local County Clare team and Kilkenny, parked their cars all over the place and, on returning to them after the match, were incensed to find they had been issued with fixed penalty parking tickets. What annoyed me was that both the newspaper and the local Gaelic Athletics Association seemed to condone these self-centred idiots, who had parked on footpaths and pavements causing pedestrians and young mums with buggies to walk round their cars out onto a busy main road.
Grumpy gets quite excited about it, but after living here for nearly 20 years he now tends to accept it as being part of Irish life! We live about 30 or 40 yards from the local church having to put up with that sort of parking at least twice a week on Saturdays and Sundays. Cars park all over the place, on the pavement, blocking the access steps to our house and blocking our rear entrance even though there are double yellow lines along the side of the road. Grumpy's even had people driving directly at him on the pavement expecting him to leap out of their way! What is somewhat amusing, is the local funeral director has his own stock of yellow traffic cones which he puts out along the "double yellows" when a funeral is imminent!
Even the local Gardai drive past this activity and do nothing about it. Probably because they're talking on their mobile phone as they drive past. During the weekday, the problem is not quite so bad. But I have still seen up to a dozen cars illegally parked. Why aren't the Gardai doing their job, if they were to issue a few parking tickets, the illegal parking would soon disappear.
This has been a source of minor irritation for many years, so much so that, in our early years here, I did wonder if the car parking areas in Ireland were marked with double yellow lines!
I have no doubt that in each of the two instances mentioned the miscreants believe they have a valid excuse such as "I was going to the match" or "I was at mass"!
Would somebody please explain to Grumpy which Irish traffic laws he must follow and which are discretionary?