Demolition of sections of a fire-damaged shopping centre in Cork will start next week and a timeframe for its completion will shortly be made public.
Nearly all of the damaged vehicles which can be removed from the multi-storey car park at Douglas Village Shopping Centre have been taken out of the building, but some remain in the section which will be demolished.
Meanwhile, Cork City Council has announced that in an effort to help traders in the village it will provide shoppers with one hour's free parking.
Douglas Village Shopping Centre manager, Bartosz Mieszala, confirmed that demolition work will start next week:
Before that starts we will issue a statement about the timescale. Our consultants are currently working on the schedule. As soon as we know we will share that.
There were 133 vehicles parked in the car park when it went on fire.
Work started last Tuesday on removing them by crane.
Mr Mieszala said that 15 were removed on the first day, 35 on Wednesday and a further 33 on Thursday.
He said he hoped all the vehicles which can be safely removed will be by the end of yesterday.
However, he said that some vehicles, which he couldn't give a precise number for, would have to remain there.
"Some of them are in the demolition area and some are very close to it," Mr Mieszala explained.
The City Council said that one hour’s free parking is to be made available in Douglas as part of a Cork City Council special promotion following the fire at Douglas Village Shopping.
The on-street parking promotion will begin today and will be available on Mondays to Saturdays.
The promotion will run through the whole of September and the City Council will review it as further information emerges about when the shopping centre car park is likely to reopen.
“Douglas is very much open for business and if you’re doing some shopping or having a bite to eat this weekend, there’s a great range of shops and restaurants in Douglas. This has not been an easy week for the people and traders and they need our support in the weeks ahead," Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr John Sheehan, said.
Under the terms of the recent extension of the Cork city boundary, Cork City Council will not become the authority in charge of collecting rates for Douglas until January next year.
Demands have been made by several traders to get a rent pause. The City Council said its officials have been in discussions with County Council counterparts on this issue. A City Council spokeswoman said affected traders are asked to make contact with Cork County Council where their queries will be dealt with on an individual basis.
Cork City Local Enterprise Office (LEO) is also offering professional mentoring and business advice clinics to businesses in the area.
Douglas Farmers' Market have cancelled their market today, primarily because of the fall-out from the fire which had resulted in lack of spaces in the area for 30 vans belonging to its traders.
However, Cork City Council has decided to go ahead with a ‘Welcome to our new city’ family fun day will take place in Douglas Park today from 10am to 2pm.
Red FM's Big Red Bus will be there along with facepainters and Piper's Funfair.