Towns without pay parking ‘should stay that way’

Towns in Cork that do not already have pay parking should not have it foisted on them, according to the local authority’s new pay parking policy.

However, money raised in towns through pay parking and fines should be ringfenced for reinvestment in those areas instead of going into general council coffers, according to the same document.

Cork County Council said a draft pay parking management policy for the county will be presented to the next Roads and Transportation Strategic Policy Committee at its meeting in December.

While some towns in Cork have pay parking, many others, particularly in West Cork, do not. It has now emerged that pay parking can only be introduced in those towns if local councillors decide to do so — something described as a “non-runner” by one member of the West Cork Municipal District Committee.

A spokesman for Cork County Council said: “It is accepted that the introduction of pay parking to any town where this does not currently exist will be a matter for that municipal district committee.

“However, in the interests of fairness and equity, it would be desirable that some or all of the financial benefits from pay parking would be ringfenced for reinvestment in the towns where it is raised.”

It means that the decision as to whether to introduce pay parking in parts of West Cork lies with the eight local councillors.

One of them, Sinn Féin’s Paul Hayes, said there was a prevailing view that pay parking was not wanted in the area. “We are all of the one voice on it,” he said. “I think it is a non-runner for the foreseeable future.”

He said while pay parking undoubtedly raised revenue, it also pushed people towards out-of-town shopping options at a time when there is a need to keep town centres vibrant and busy.

He said that West Cork could continue to be promoted as free from pay parking, which would be “of great benefit to locals and visitors alike”.

Councillors had sought clarity on the issue amid suggestions that a ‘one size fits all’ policy might be implemented following the abolition of local town councils earlier this year.

However, Mr Hayes said that local councillors would “be shot” if they decided that pay parking should be introduced, although he said there was a need for better parking management in some towns so as to facilitate locals, businesses, and their employees and other groups.


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