Wheelchair parking spaces & the abuse of convenience

I am always disgusted by the brazen actions of some people. I know the weather here is atrocious, but even this is no excuse for some people who don't want to risk getting there hair wet.
Its especially galling to witness muscle men, parked in a disabled space outside the local gym.
I have seen young guys coming back from the off license with there weekend supply of booze, returning to there car parked in the ticket free disability space.
Obviously Grandad has been a bit lax, in who he lets drive his car!
As revolting as these people are, I still would never challenge them directly.
If they are vile and ignorant enough to do this, there is absolutely no point in trying to appeal to any rational part of their mind, which at best must be temporarily frozen.
In a supposedly vibrational universe, what sort of message are these people sending out? On my worst days, I hope that they get there plea's answered ( and that they have to drive around in circles, because other ignorami have those spaces greedily hogged)!
It seems to have gone to the other extreme unfortunately now, where the people parked in there big jeeps and with no visible sign of disability, have a legitimate parking permit.
I decided to contact the I.W.A processing office, one of the two issuing bodies for the state to get some answers, on a particularly vexing morning.
Could you explain to me, why I am constantly seeing big jeeps and range rovers parked in wheelchair parking spaces?

What are the criteria for getting a disabled permit

Could you give me some statistics about how many permits are in circulation and under what circumstances a parking permit is revoked?

What does a person do that sees a big vehicle with a sticker and a driver or a passenger with no obvious disability.

The response stated:
"With regard to medical criteria we are dependent on GP’s accurately filling the forms, which they do for the most part.
If forms are not fully filled or don’t meet the criteria for issuing the permit we will always contact the GP for verification.
Any application failing to meet the criteria is refused.
Any application has the right to an appeal of this decision, the appeal is carried out by an independent medical professional and their decision is final.
With regard to the numbers of permits that would be “live” we can only give an approximation as we are not the only issuing body.
Permits are valid for 2 years so a combined total for 2 years for both issuing bodies would be 80,000 permits.
Permits may be no longer issued where a person no longer meets the medical criteria, or if there is serious abuse of the permit, including copying of the permit for use by others.
With regard to policing of permits, it is always best to contact the local Traffic Warden or Gardai, as they have the authority to inspect the permit and issue a fine.
You have a good point that not all disabilities are visible, however once a person has qualified for a disabled persons parking permit, they have the right to use a bay.
We do send out an information leaflet with the permits, giving information regarding good practice of use and also the regulations for use, also attached.
We would request those who do not perhaps need the width of a bay to use other bays nearby where possible as it allows more use of bays by wheelchair users etc who need that width.
We have had cases where persons who are entitled to use the permits have been harassed by others,  as they don’t have a visible disability, this is something that cannot be allowed to happen.
Anybody who has any doubts can contact both ourselves or the Disabled Drivers Association and clarify if the holder is the correct user".
Note we don’t give any personal information but a brief description giving the sex and age group of the holder can normally confirm this.
I hope this information is of use.

Niall McDonnell
MAATS Administrator
National Mobility Centre
Ballinagappa Road
Co. Kildare
Ph. 045-89309