ROAD RAGE: TRAFFIC WARDENS ABUSED; County Councils Reveal Inspectors Hit, Rammed, Spat at and Threatened; 'I'll Break Your Legs If I See You near My Car Again,' Inspector Told

Daily Mail (London), January 28, 2019 | Go to article overview

ROAD RAGE: TRAFFIC WARDENS ABUSED; County Councils Reveal Inspectors Hit, Rammed, Spat at and Threatened; 'I'll Break Your Legs If I See You near My Car Again,' Inspector Told


Byline: Emer Scully

SPAT at, poked, punched, rammed with cars, hit by bread rolls and water bottles - the shocking extent of the abuse Ireland's traffic wardens suffer is laid bare today.

The Irish Daily Mail has obtained records of the litany of threats and attacks wardens across the country are met with during their work days.

County councils nationwide were contacted for the information, and a high level of physical and verbal abuse suffered by parking inspectors has emerged.

In the most serious reported attacks, some wardens were sprayed with mace, others were rammed by vehicles, while some received extreme threats of violence - all for issuing tickets. One person told a Co. Meath warden 'if he came his way the next day he would put his head through the windscreen', while a Co. Donegal parking inspector was warned he would 'pay for this in the long grass' after he issued a ticket.

Others were told they would have their legs broken or had shotguns used on them.

The scale of abuse was no surprise to Brendan O'Brien, the sector organiser with Siptu, Ireland's largest trade union, who said traffic wardens suffered 'unbearable' abuse while ensuring parking rules are adhered to.

He added that in some instances wardens have to be relocated or are made to wear body cameras for their safety.

In Donegal, a driver told a warden 'he would knock his head off' before standing in front of him in a 'very threatening' pose, the warden reported to their council.

Another driver returned 'a number of hours' after an altercation to take intimidating photos of the warden.

Yet another Donegal warden was threatened 'in a bullish manner', and one inspector from the same county was warned by a motorist 'he will have to get the shotgun to you' and 'I'll be seeing you'.

In a particularly vicious threat, a driver in Navan, Co. Meath, told a warden 'he would make his job hell and he would break his legs if he saw him near his car again'.

During an incident in Laois, a driver told a warden he would 'get me when I wasn't in my uniform'. The warden was also accused of being racist, called names and hit twice on the arm. This driver later drove over the same warden's foot after the latter went to the gardai, according to the council report.

In Co. Meath 'a car drove past and [someone in it] threw a bread roll' while a traffic warden was issuing a fine in Navan in 2017.

Water is also a common missile used. A water bottle was hurled at a warden's arm in Dublin in 2017, and in the same year the contents of a bottle of water were emptied onto a warden in Co. Laois.

The disturbing extent of abuse against wardens during the course of their job was detailed through a Freedom of Information request sent by the Mail to each county council. The Mail requested information on assaults and verbal abuse of wardens from all the county councils in the country.

While 11 supplied information - Leitrim, Wexford, Monaghan, Westmeath, Meath, Laois, Tipperary, Dublin City Council, Carlow, Louth and Donegal - the rest declined to give the information or said they did not keep records.

Incidents revealed to the Mail included members of the public nudging wardens, clenching their fists and one Dublin warden being 'poked in the chest numerous times'. However, the level of violence is more severe in some cases. For example, in 2014, pepper spray was used against a traffic warden in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, before the offender was arrested by gardai. Some of the councilemployed inspectors were even spat at while being attacked.

A 2015 report from Co. Laois read: 'Driver first pushed me then punched me and spat at me again before pushing me away. He then got into his car and sped away.' And again last year, in the same county, a warden reported: 'I was passing a lady of whom I would have known. As I was passing her, she looked at me and spat at me, just missing me. …

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