Traffic wardens have been criticised for issuing a parking ticket to a disabled woman from Gortin whose Blue Badge was out of date.
Patricia Cunningham, whose close friend Pauline Bowes from Gortin were ticketed in Strabane last week because her badge had expired, feels the current system, which requires routine renewal, places unnecessary stress on disabled individuals.
“I do not feel that this was Pauline’s fault,” Ms Cunningham said. “In my view, disabled individuals shouldn’t be expected to renew the passes themselves. It often slips their mind and is an added pressure for them. If anything, it should be done automatically or more assistance should be given.
“I approached traffic wardens about the issue, and they were unsympathetic.
“Traffic wardens shouldn’t act like this, especially when they do not know the full details of a person’s ability to renew a licence themselves.”
Ms Cunningham feels that this issue is causing stress for a significant number of vulnerable individuals in the area.
“Pauline is very worried and the incident isn’t doing her any good at all. I know of a number of other individuals who were ticketed on the same day due to the same issue,” she said.
When contacted this week regarding the issue, the Department of Infrastructure (DFI) outlined how the renewal procedure works.
“Badges are normally issued to eligible applicants within 20 days of receipt of correctly completed applications,” a spokesperson said.
“Renewal Notices are also issued eight weeks in advance of expiry of the blue badges to enable timely applications.
“Should any individual wish to check the status of their blue badge application they can contact the Department at Blue Badge Section by telephone on 0300 2007818 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.”