Increase in number of abandoned vehicles reported to Council

Limerick City and County Council Director of Economic Development Vincent Murray.

LABOUR councillor Joe Leddin has proposed that the Council introduce a bye-law to address the growing problem of unused cars left in housing estates and driveways after a 58 per cent increase in reported cases in 2023.

According to Cllr Leddin, it is not only an eyesore, but a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“These unused cars are an eyesore for residents trying to keep their community clean and tidy. The owners of theses unused cars must be compelled to either sell or arrange for the car’s disposal with authorised collection companies who will safely dispose of the car subject to regulatory guidelines,” he said.

“Other issues are the collection of litter, dirt, and weeds growing around cars left abandoned, in some cases for years, in driveways on footpaths within estates.”

Responding to the City West representative’s motion, the Council’s Director of Services for Planning, Vincent Murray, explained that the Waste Management Act 1996 addresses the problem of abandoned vehicles.

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Cllr Leddin was informed that, under Section 71 of the Act, it is an offence to abandon a vehicle on any land and both the person who placed the vehicle at the place where it was abandoned and the registered owner are liable to be prosecuted with fines of up to €5,000 and/or 12 months in prison.

“If a vehicle is deemed abandoned, the registered owner is served with a notice under the Waste Management Act advising them that the vehicle must be removed within two weeks. If the vehicle is not removed within two weeks, the Council will arrange to remove the vehicle and the registered owner will be liable for the costs of removal,” Mr Murray told council members.

“The local authority may enter on any land upon which a vehicle has been abandoned and remove the said vehicle. Where a vehicle is removed from land by the local authority, the local authority will endeavour to contact the registered owner by way of a written notice as soon as it is possible thereafter.”

Abandoned vehicles, it was revealed, must be claimed by the registered owner under certain circumstances and conditions but shall be subject to payment of recovery and storage costs incurred by the local authority before the vehicle can be returned.

“It is important to note that the local authority has the powers to dispose of vehicles under certain circumstances without notification to the registered owner. To date in 2023, 27 cases of abandoned vehicles have been reported to the Council, this represents a 58 per cent increase in the same period in 2022,” Mr Murray concluded.