Following a review of the Disabled Parking Scheme undertaken by the Department in 2010, new rules for eligibility for the Scheme from 1 June 2011 will ensure that it better benefits those with significant mobility impairments. As of 1 June 2011, the criteria for eligibility for a Disabled Persons Parking Permit are revised to specify that they are available to persons who, whether drivers or passengers, have ‘a permanent condition or disability that severely restricts his or her ability to walk.’
Ireland’s Disabled Parking Scheme operates under the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997, as amended in 2011. Permits are granted to eligible persons, whether drivers or passengers. These permits permit holders to park in disabled parking bays. Only a vehicle displaying a disabled person's permit is allowed to park in a disabled person's parking bay, and the vehicle must be parked for the convenience of the permit holder. Permits are issued by both the Irish Wheelchair Association and the Disabled Drivers Association.
In line with the recommendations of the 2010 Review of the Scheme, amendments have already been made to the dimensions of disabled parking bays to provide for wider parking bays. The new dimensions are set out in Chapter 7, page 109, of the Traffic Signs Manual.
The form of the permit (commonly referred to as the Blue Parking Card) complies with EU Recommendation 98/376/EC, which allows for its recognition in other EU member states. Irish legislation in this regard extends to disabled person's parking permits issued by other countries provided the permit contains the recognised pictorial symbol of a person sitting in a wheelchair.