The lack of parking in UCD is a well-known student issue. It is not so well-known among the student population that the introduction of the permit parking system in UCD also has a long and storied history as an industrial dispute. Why is it relevant? Well, it’s about to become a live issue yet again.

This edition has the latest update on parking, with the Car Parking and Commuting Management Proposal currently open for staff review. It was somewhat surprising to see just how controversial the implementation of the permits proved to be. The three main Trade Unions which represent the various types of staff fought UCD all the way to the Labour Court. The conflict would actually rank as one of the largest industrial disputes in UCD’s history.

Today, the problem is that the €50 annual charge was never going to last forever, and was agreed on as a ‘temporary measure’ until January 2017. Now, UCD wants to double it, then add another €50 over the following two years, to hit €150 per year for 2020/2021. The price may be rising, but so is the competition for spaces. Parking Permit sales were up 7% by mid-September this year, which translates to about another 260 vehicles eligible for the reserved spots in UCD. Total sales of permits for this semester should easily surpass the 7,000 mark, with no corresponding increase in the number of spaces available.

In what is an unusual statement for a Tribune editor to make, it must be said that UCD is not entirely responsible for the issue, as the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has frustrated its attempts to build more parking spots. For example, UCD had to drop its plan to seek a couple of extra parking spaces when it applied for permission to expand NovaUCD, as covered in the last issue of this paper. Their latest shot at securing more spaces is included in the new application to An Bord Pleanala for more student accommodation, which has already annoyed local councillors, who feel they have been bypassed. Interesting times ahead.

Cian Carton – Editor