After many years of complaints about the activities of vehicle clampers the Vehicle Clamping Act 2015 now regulates the hated activity and, importantly, allows for the setting of maximum clamp and release fees and provides for a complaints and appeal mechanism.
The Act designates the National Transport Authority as the regulator of clampers though, interestingly, it provides that the Minister for Transport can give policy directions to the NTA regarding its functions. This appears to be a relatively unusual feature of any regulatory system and while any direction to the NTA must be put before the Oireachtas the Act does not give any power for directions to be overruled.
Clamping is primarily a system of administrative fines but the Act does allow the NTA to make regulations, the breach of which could give rise to a criminal offence.
It will obviously take time to see what impact the Act has on clamping and complaints about it but it does, at least, address long standing concerns about the inability of drivers to do anything to challenge an unregulated activity.