A young man from Navan with Down syndrome was distraught after his family’s car was stranded in a busy shopping mall despite parking in a bay clearly marked as “special needs parking”
Robert Sullivan took to social media to say his wife Ciara and son Aaron (25) were stranded outside Johnstown Mall after his vehicle was stranded around 6:20 p.m.
“Clocked in a Special Needs space in Smith’s SuperValu Johnstown Navan with my son who clearly has Down syndrome. He’s in distress. Ashamed. No signage says he needs a badge on my car to prove his status, ”Robert wrote on Twitter.
According to Robert, Aaron – who attends day services at Prosper Meath, Watergate Street, Navan – was very upset with the incident. Robert claimed the matter was not resolved when he arrived and sought help inside the mall.
It took over two hours for the clamp to be removed and only after Robert paid over € 125 in release fees.
Speaking to the Meath Chronicle late that evening, Robert said there had been no resolution to the issue and their car was only released after two hours after the charges had been paid.
“The Gardai advised us to pay the fine and try to appeal later.” SuperValu claimed it was a private company employed to patrol the parking lot that we had to deal with.
“Signage is totally inadequate. Disabled parking spaces do not state that you must display a badge of any description. The rules for blocking in said parking lot are that you will be blocked after three hours. nowhere indicated that we could be secured for parking in a space suitable for special needs.
“These signs indicate special needs, that Aaron is due to Down syndrome and lack of awareness of the potential dangers in a busy parking lot. If we were wrong, we would be the first to raise our hands and say ‘guilty.’ .
“If, for example, there were parent and child spaces, would they clamp down and fine someone who parked there without children?
“It was extremely upsetting for him. I literally just installed him (I hope) but his whole routine has been turned upside down. Routine is everything for him.”
“Where is the inclusive society we are aiming for in this country? We will always speak out against injustice. We are the voice of Aaron.”
“The company said we can appeal, as it is our right to do within 60 days. Each case is considered individually.
Apcoa, the company in charge of the parking has been contacted for comment