If you have the EU disabled person’s parking permit/card displayed on your windscreen you have certain parking concessions. You may park in assigned disabled person’s parking spaces.  These spaces have the wheelchair symbol painted on the ground or have a sign with the symbol displayed. Most accessible parking bays are located near amenities including: shops, post offices, education places, work, social events, banks, etc. The idea of the EU parking permit is that if you travel to any EU country you are entitled to park in a disabled persons parking space/bay. If you are travelling outside the EU it is advised that you contact the relevant embassy for that country.

The Community standardised model of parking card for the disabled allows a disabled person who is entitled to use certain parking facilities in his Member State of residence to move more easily in the territory of another Member State and avail themselves of all the parking facilities granted to the disabled in that Member State. The Community model was introduced by a Council Recommendation in 1998.

This Recommendation provides for the standardisation of the layout of parking permits/cards for people with disabilities and their recognition by the Member States, in order to facilitate such people’s freedom of movement by car. The Annex entitled “Provisions on the Community model parking card for people with disabilities” contains very specific provisions on what the standard European card should look like, specifies its height, width, colour, material (plastic-coated), content and how and where the information specific to the Member States is to be displayed.

Member States remain responsible for issuing the card. In this respect, Member States use their own definition of disability and define the procedures for granting the card. The Recommendation does not aim to change the way in which the disability parking permit/card is implemented at national level. Nevertheless the European dimension has a substantial impact on the free movement and independent living of disabled EU citizens.

In Ireland, the Road Traffic (Traffic and Parking) Regulations 1997 provide for the operation of disabled person’s parking permits (also known as European Parking Cards) in Ireland.  The Blue Parking Permit complies with EU Recommendation 98/376/EC which allows for its recognition in other EU Member states.  However, the motoring laws and restrictions on parking in other countries must be observed.  The Irish legislation in this regard extends to disabled person’s parking permits issued by other countries.

A general guide pertaining to conditions in each EU state is available to download.