Uncaring face of bureaucracy
Parking tickets are a constant source of controversy and irritation, but sometimes the heavy hand of those responsible for enforcing them beggars belief. In today's Belfast Telegraph we report the case of Robert McEvoy, who was issued with a parking ticket as his elderly mother was lying in a hospital nearby, suffering from the last stages of cancer.
Mr McEvoy had long experience of parking in a clearway on the Lisburn Road in Belfast so that his mother would have the shortest possible walk to the Bridgewater Suite to keep a medical appointment.
On this latter occasion his mother had to be taken by ambulance, and he followed in his car, parking it in his usual spot.
However, his mother was so ill that he was unable to return to his car until some 25 minutes after the cut-off point for parking in a clearway.
When he returned, he discovered that he had been given a parking ticket. Quite naturally in the circumstances, he appealed the ticket, and provided as much evidence as he could about why he had been parking in the clearway.
However, the parking enforcement unit told him that his appeal had failed, and the formal and obviously uncaring language of the letter added to his distress.
His case was taken up by this newspaper, and after the matter was raised with the relevant sources, a spokesman for the Department for Regional Development offered condolences to Mr McEvoy, and cancelled the parking ticket. However, there is something wrong with a system where there appears to be little humanity or common sense.
And the situation is disturbing when a person requires help from a newspaper to receive sympathy, justice and fair treatment.
The DRD Minister Danny Kennedy has many challenges to face, but as head of a huge Government department, undoubtedly sets the tone for the way in which his colleagues behave.
Mr Kennedy must set up an inquiry as to how this unfortunate lapse was allowed to take place.
No one is suggesting that parking tickets should be waived lightly, but Mr McEvoy had a genuine case.
It's a great pity that the parking enforcers were so clumsy and inhuman.
Sometimes even a little common sense can go a long way.