Special parking spaces are to be set aside specifically for elderly motorists in three areas of West Cork and calls have been made for more to be developed as our ageing population increases in the years ahead.
Council officials have confirmed that the parking spaces are to be made available in town centres of Bandon and Skibbereen and close to the pier in Bantry.
The confirmation came at a meeting of the council’s Western Division in Clonakilty when the issue of providing better parking for elderly people was raised by Cllr Paul Hayes.
He put down a motion that the local authority would endeavour to incorporate ‘age-friendly parking spaces’ in future street public realm works. He said these parking spaces should be placed near public buildings frequented by older people, such as post offices, libraries, churches etc and would be marked as priority parking areas for older people.
Cllr Hayes told officials that Central Statistic Office (CSO) figures forecast a dramatic increase in population age in the next few years.
“The council and other bodies need to be cognisant of these changes coming down the track.
Currently, there are 540,000 people aged 65-plus in Ireland which accounts for 12% of the total population,” Cllr Hayes said.
“This is set to rise to 1.4m, or 22% of the total population, by 2041. While the projected changes in the population aged 65 and over are striking, changes for the group aged 80 and over are even more dramatic. Over the same 30-year period, the number of people aged 80 and over in Ireland is projected to rise from 130,600 to 458,000. That’s an increase of 250%,” he said.
Quoting from the Irish Longitudinal Study on Ageing (TILDA 2014), Cllr Hayes said ageing on this scale is unprecedented in Irish history. He said that similar projects to aid elderly motorists had already been completed by local authorities in Carlow, Kilkenny and Limerick.
“The idea is that these parking spaces will not be policed but be similar to the parent and child courtesy car parking spaces in supermarkets. I’m hoping that people will do the right thing and not park in themif they do not consider themselves old,” Cllr Hayes said.
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