DUBLIN City Council faces a lengthy battle to shut down the numerous illegal car parks that have sprung up across the city.
Officials probing the rise of parking facilities offered to motorists without planning permission have identified 21 separate operations, all of which are now being targeted by enforcement officers.
But it is feared that those who own the businesses could simply use the planning system in order to hold up any proceedings designed to shut them down.
The car parks identified during a five-week investigation are scattered across the city, and include the former veterinary college in Ballsbridge; Hawkins House, adjacent to the Department of Health; the former Fingal council offices on O'Connell Street; and Connolly Station.
Each site is at various stages of the enforcement process under which the council attempts to put an end to their illegitimate trade. These include warning letters and enforcement notices.
However, Labour councillor Killian Forde, head of Dublin City Council's Finance Strategic Policy Committee, explained that putting an end to such businesses can prove difficult.
"The car parks are illegal in the sense that they don't have planning permission, so what happens is that someone in planning enforcement will send a letter to the owners of the land according to the land registry, who may or may not be the right people," he said.
"That can take a few weeks, and when they get the right person [that person] can challenge [the letter] on the legal interpretation.
"On top of that they can apply for retention. Cases have taken up to nine years [to resolve]."