Angry Cork traders call for controversial traffic ban to be lifted at meeting tonight

200 angry Cork city centre traders tonight voted unanimously to support calls for the controversial three-week-old afternoon car ban in the city's main street to be abandoned.

The traders also pledged to pack the public gallery of next Monday's council meeting which is due to discuss a motion calling for the ban to be lifted.

The traders also threatened to picket some of the 250-free city centre multi-storey parking spaces availed of by city council staff unless the decision is reversed.

About 50 people said they were prepared to withhold their commerical rates unless the council abandons the initiative and vowed to push an overwhelmingly positive message to customers that despite the 3pm to 6.30pm car ban on the city's main street, the city is alive and open for business.

The moves were agreed during a Cork Business Association (CBA) organised meeting of traders in the Imperial Hotel at which speaker after speaker slated the new traffic system.

The afternoon car ban was introduced by the city council on March 27, creating a time-regulated ban lane on St Patrick's St from 3pm to 6.30pm, in a bid to improve bus journey times.

It is one part of a wider city centre movement strategy, agreed in 2012.

CBA president, Philip Gillivan, said customers have been confused by the new traffic system and have opted to stay away.

He said traders are fearful, frustrated and angry.

"The council needs to step back and reverse the changes and give traders breathing space," he said.

- Read full coverage of this story in tomorrow's Irish Examiner

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