Category: Archive

City’s parking crackdown spares Irish diplomats

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Stephen McKinley

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to solve the problem of diplomatic parking infringements in New York will not impact either the Irish or British consulates, according to spokespersons in both offices.

In recent weeks, the mayor has attacked scofflaws from various countries around the world who openly flaunted parking restrictions and who did not pay their accumulated parking fines, to the tune of more than $20 million.

“We’re very law-abiding,” said Cait Moran, an official at the Irish Consulate in New York. “The mayor’s plan does not include us. Our policy is to follow the law.”

Moran added that the Irish Consulate has only one government vehicle, and the Irish Mission to the United Nations has two.

Announcing his Diplomatic Parking Plan, Bloomberg used aptly diplomatic language, saying that the program will “improve traffic flow and safety and make it easier for missions and consulates to conduct their official business.”

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Under Bloomberg’s plan, any car, regardless of an diplomatic or consular license plates, will be ticketed and could even be towed, just like ordinary private vehicles, if it is found to be illegally parked. The program will also reduce diplomatic vehicles with on-street parking privileges by 75 percent, from 2,600 to 530.

Consulates that continue to flaunt the law could have their registrations revoked by the Department of State and existing parking space would be reduced. Those who by Sept. 1 do not pay 60 percent of their outstanding parking debt accrued since 1997 will lose their consular plates, the city says.

Of the $21.3 million the city says it is owed, Egypt leads the list, with $1.63 million from 15,924 tickets accumulated between 1997 and 2000. Nigeria, Kuwait, Indonesia, Russia, Brazil and Morocco all owe more than $500,000.

“Diplomats are finally going to play by the rules and pay their tickets,” Bloomberg said.

At the British Consulate, a spokesperson said that the UK was not on Bloomberg’s hit list of worst offenders either.

Asked how Irish consular staff moved around the city, Moran said: “We take the subway.”

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