Row continues over by-laws on motor home parking

A row is continuing in a west Waterford town over proposed by-laws to prohibit motor home owners from parking at scenic sites or in local car parks.

Dungarvan caravan and camping park owners, who pay rates and development charges, want “wild camping” outlawed and motor homes compelled to use their overnight facilities.

But motor home owners are continuing to demand they be allowed park for up to 48 or 72 hours in designated bays at alternative locations.

Daily pitch charges at Dungarvan’s three camping sites can rise to €42 per family of four, with extra for shower, electricity and other facilities.

Motor home bays in Ireland, Britain and Europe averages about €10, including access to a tap and waste water disposal, it has been claimed.

A delegation from each side presented their argument at separate hearings, prior to November’s sitting of the Dungarvan-Lismore Municipal District Council.

Munster-based Phoenix Motorhome Club Ireland represented motor homes but agreement had been reached in advance to exclude the media.

It is believed a majority of councillors rejected chairman Damien Geoghegan’s call for an open meeting.

Afterwards, Cllr Geoghegan said there had emerged “diametrically opposing views”.

Motor home tourism is growing rapidly in Ireland with diverse reactions from local authorities.

Some provide public facilities and others ban outright temporary parking outright.

Cllr Geoghegan believes “there is room for both options” in Dungarvan.

Phoenix Motorhome Club Ireland PRO Kieran Donovan said motor home tourism was worth “€30 per person per day” to local trade. The council chairman said he was keen to receive input “from the wider business community”.

The three Dungarvan locations — one of which is a town centre car park — represent about 25 spaces, maximum, by day.

Mr Donovan says his members generally avail of caravan parks whenever there is a rally or surplus numbers. However, he said members will “simply go elsewhere if Dungarvan doesn’t want us”.

He noted there are less than 4,400 camp site pitches in the Republic and over 11,000 registered motor home owners.

Caravan parks representative Mark Knowles said the issue “lies with the council now”. He did not discuss the matter further.

The issue will be assessed by a transport strategic policy committee, with draft by-laws expected to be returned to the council early next year.


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