Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: The Dubliner, 15 April 2010

“My personal preference would have been for a campaign of violent retribution, loosely modelled on the plot of the motion picture Rambo: First Blood

rambo first blood
I have a beef with Dublin Street Parking Services. Actually, I have several beefs. For starters, what array of “services” do these quasi-paramilitary zealots actually provide? I mean, have you ever tried flagging them down, explaining that parallel parking isn’t exactly your forte and asking them to do the honours?

No, DSPS are clampers. That’s the only “service” they provide. Now I have a healthy disrespect for the law. But I’m not an anarchist. I’m willing to concede – through gritted teeth – that clampers may perform a necessary function in our city. It’s not one I would be too comfortable performing myself. But we each have to earn a crust, I suppose.

For many years, relations between us were cordial enough. They were a bit like the teacher who tried to catch me smoking behind the school gymnasium. Sometimes they got me. More often I got away with it. But there was, I always thought, a grudging respect there.

Then one morning last year, all that changed. I was a guest on Tom Dunne’s show on Newstalk and had parked in a loading bay on South William Street. My car is a commercial vehicle, so I was entitled to be there. But I’d gone over the allotted half hour by a couple of minutes. I wasn’t too worried. There were other spaces free and, besides, this was South William Street. The only people possibly inconvenienced were hipsters waiting on the latest consignment of skinny jeans. I could live with that on my conscience.

As I rummaged for a tape in the glove compartment, I heard a clanging noise. The bastards were immobilising my vehicle while I was actually in it. I remonstrated and they backed off. “We know that car,” said the senior guy. He had a sly smirk on his face. “We’ve gotten you a few times now, haven’t we?” I conceded that, yes, they had gotten me a few times now. It would be nice to stand around and reminisce, but I had other places to be.

Okay, my language may have been a little saltier. But they’d heard worse, I’m sure. I was having a bad day. They could have cut me a little slack. Well, I’d reckoned without the vindictiveness of little men. Over the next few months I was subject to some of the most rigorous law enforcement this city has ever seen. Their favourite to get me was outside my sister’s apartment. She was on maternity leave and I’d often drop her over a sandwich at lunchtime.

They clocked me at 31, 33 and 31 minutes in the loading bay outside. Other vehicles on that street were always left unmolested – even cars parked days on end on double yellow lines. I took photos and made filed official complaints. But they weren’t interested. This week I finally decided it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Now my original preference would have been for a campaign of violent retribution, loosely modelled on the plot of the motion picture Rambo: First Blood. However, due to work commitments and difficulties I experienced procuring stockpiles of RPGs, I was forced into a more drastic course of action. I sold my car. You win this round, clampers. You win this round…

April 15th, 2010.

7 Responses to ““My personal preference would have been for a campaign of violent retribution, loosely modelled on the plot of the motion picture Rambo: First Blood”

  1. Colin Says:

    Even Brian Dennehy won round 1 against Rambo. In retaliation for the fall of your car, I say skip to Rambo III and break out the explosive charges bow. Red headband optional.

    “You send that many clampers after Butler, don’t forget one thing……a good supply of body bags.”

  2. massey Says:

    You didn’t really sell the car did ya? Did you warn the new owner that he/she is going to be getting harrassed all the time now by clampers?

  3. Dolly Says:

    Just saw the new Dubliner column today Eoin. Dude are you wearing a thermal vest in your pic?

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Massey – I did sell the car but I think the guy was probably going to scrap it.

    @ Dolly – yes, I am.

  5. stu Says:

    OK, I could well be wrong here, but as far as I know you can’t get clamped on a double yellow. Because its a double yellow, see? Cant have a veh-hicle there at any time, never mind an immobilised one. Either they pick it up with one of the only two car removal trucks in the Dublin area, or a cop writes you a ticket for eighty bucks. The lesson: park on the double yella, fella,tis far safer and they would really have to broken their balls to get you with the frequently-unavailable lifting trucks.
    I’m a bit late with this, no?

  6. Eoin Says:

    Not too late at all Stu. If that’s true then I would feel pretty stupid for selling my car. But it can’t be true, can it?

  7. kurt vonnegut Says:

    John Rambo wouldn’t wear a thermal vest.

    (thermal vests are, in fact, the dog’s bollocks)

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