By Eoin English
A major security operation will be mounted in Cork from midnight tomorrow for the visit on Thursday of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla.
A raft of traffic, parking and pedestrian restrictions will be in effect across Cork city centre and Bus Eireann has advised of route changes to several cross-city suburban services, as well as to certain services to Ballincollig, Carrigaline and Ringaskiddy for several hours on Thursday morning.
The company has advised people to check its website for details.
The royal couple will spend Thursday in Cork city, with a number of engagements on their itinerary.
They will visit City Hall and the English Market, before Prince Charles visits UCC, the National Maritime College in Ringaskiddy, and the Irish Naval Service base in Haulbowline, while Camilla visits the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind training centre on Model Farm Rd, and a women’s refuge.
They will both be hosted at a VIP dinner in the city centre that evening.
A full security detail will accompany each of them during their various visits.
Parking will be removed from St Patrick's Street, from Academy Street to Daunt Square, from the Grand Parade, South Mall, Oliver Plunkett Street from Prince’s Street to the Grand Parade, Lapp’s Quay, Kyrl’s Street and Anglesea Street, from midnight tomorrow until 2pm on Thursday.
Parking will be removed from Half Moon Street, Academy Street, Emmet Place and Drawbridge Street from 12 noon on Thursday until 11.30pm on Thursday.
Several roads will also be closed to vehicular traffic.
The closures will kick in at 7.15am on Thursday and be in effect until 2pm along Grand Parade, Tuckey Street, Oliver Plunkett Street, Lapps Quay and South Mall (Grand Parade to Parliament Street).
Similar closures will be in effect from 9.30am to 2pm along Anglesea Street, Union Quay (between the junction of Copley Street and Parnell Bridge), Parliament Bridge, the remainder of South Mall and streets off both sides of the Mall.
Vehicles will only be allowed northbound on Parnell Bridge during this period.
Closures will be in effect from 9.30am to 11.30am along St Patrick's Street and adjoining side streets, Half Moon Street, Emmet Place and Drawbridge Street, Washington Street from South Main Street to Daunt Square.
Pedestrian restrictions will be in effect from 7.15am until 1.30pm on the Grand Parade, Tuckey Street, Oliver Plunkett Street (from Market Alley to the Grand Parade) and from 9.30am to 11.30am at Daunt Square and Washington Street (from South Main Street to the Grand Parade).
Pedestrian movement will also be restricted between 10.30am and 1.30pm on Anglesea Street, Parnell Bridge West Side and Union Quay.
Because of road closures on Lapp's Quay on Thursday, the Black Ash Park & Ride bus will operate to and from Eglinton St.
The route will follow from Eglinton Street to Albert Quay, Albert Street and out the South Link. Normal service to/from Lapps Quay will resume on Friday.
Access to apartments on Opera Lane will be via Bowling Green St on Thursday, and the city's Coca Cola bikes will be removed from several areas.
They will be removed from Grand Parade and Lapp's Quay by 7am on Thursday, from Anglesea St by 9.30am, and from Emmet Place by 5pm.
Gardaí say Cork City will be open for business as usual and stressed that the public are welcome to visit and will be facilitated to view the visit of the royal couple.
They advised people coming to view the visit to arrive in good time, and not to carry large luggage/ bags as these items will not be permitted in certain viewing areas.
They said people going about their daily business will be facilitated but some minor delays may be experienced and people are advised to allow extra time for their journeys.
They also said that local residents, businesses and schools have been informed of the various restrictions.
Labour Party representative, Peter Horgan, questioned the need to remove the public bikes, especially during Bike Week.
“I understand that security is tight for this visit but the business of the city and the citizens should not be impeded to the degree that is envisaged,” he said.
“The road closures and pedestrian restrictions are one thing but to remove the bikes seems counter-productive, especially during bike week.
"This is the one week of the year where we really push the use of cycling and now we’re removing significant locations because of the Royal visit. I can’t understand the reason.”