Office of government chief whip forwarded far-fetched claims from constituent that car engine was cutting out due to new 30kph speed limit in Phoenix Park

Government chief whip Jack Chambers and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar forwarded angry letters from constituents who claimed a new 30 kilometre per hour speed limit in the Phoenix Park was damaging their car or forcing it to cut out altogether.

The representations were forwarded by local TDs to the Office of Public Works (OPW) amid controversy over the availability of parking at Dublin Zoo and the park.

In internal emails, OPW officials warned parking availability was likely to be an ongoing problem as the summer months arrived.

One email said: “The busier the season gets (and with two bank holiday weekends in the next month and a bit), this discussion will probably resurface.”

Emails also explained how motorists parked illegally throughout the park no matter how many warning signs the OPW put in place.

“Will review the signage as requested and organise additional signs,” said one message, “our experience in the past is that they are just ignored.”

In another exchange, the OPW said members of staff might be better avoiding talking about the parking issue on broadcast media.

An email said: “I don’t think it is in OPW’s best interest to debate this emotive issue on air at the moment.”

The OPW also said that much of the parking previously available on Chesterfield Avenue had never been available for zoo parking in the first place.

Chief Park Superintendent Margaret Gormley wrote: “The bulk of the parking spaces was utilised by commuters in the past and not available to Zoo patrons, particularly during the weekend.”

A spokeswoman for the OPW said recent changes in the Phoenix Park had made it a significantly safer space for pedestrian and cyclists.