Free parking: time's up for drivers in Dublin

Dublin-based employees who enjoy free car-parking spaces provided by their employers will be among the first to face a €200 annual car-parking levy under government plans for the rollout of the scheme which will be announced in the coming weeks.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Finance confirmed planning for the new charge, which is expected to yield €10m per year in revenue, is at an "advanced stage".

However, the levy is expect­ed to be rolled out in phases, with Dublin motorists who have an "ongoing entitlement to use a parking space" targeted first.

The spokeswoman said details of the specific boundaries – which are required to distinguish between those parts of a city which are covered by the levy and those which are not – have been agreed with local authorities in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Waterford and Galway.

But she declined to release details of these boundaries in advance of the formal announcement of the new scheme "within weeks".

No date for this announcement has yet been set, she added.

More than 50,000 parking spaces in the private and public sectors are expected to be affected by the new levy, details of which were first announced in last November's budget.

Its planned introduction has previously prompted strong criticism from AA Ireland, which believes it will be a "nightmare" to administer and will do little to reduce car use.

However, supporters of the move believe it is one of a range of measures that can help reduce congestion and cut carbon emissions.

"It is intended that the levy will apply eventually in the five urban areas of Cork, Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Waterford," the finance spokeswoman said.

"Within these urban areas, regard will be had to factors such as the availability of public transport, the level of congestion in the relevant parts of those cities and also the relative value of the car parking spaces."

The onus will be on employers to deduct the levy from the employees' net salary payments after income tax, PRSI and other deductions are applied, according to the department.

"Each employer should remit the levy deducted to the Office of the Collector-General at the same time and in the same manner as the employer currently remits deductions made under the PAYE system," the spokeswoman said.

"Where parking spaces are shared by employees, the levy is reduced to €100 where the ratio of the number of employees to the number of parking spaces is two to one or more.

"Reductions in the levy are also provided to take account of atypical work patterns."