A number of traders in Mallow have expressed their annoyance at being excluded from a meeting which will decide if a private company will continue to enforce parking regulations in their town.
Cork County Council will discuss the future enforcement of pay parking in Mallow at a behind closed doors meeting today from which the press will be also be excluded.
Some traders attended a meeting of the Kanturk/Mallow Municipal District Council yesterday in the hope they might find out if the council will discontinue a contract with a private company and revert to having the town's parking enforced by council-employed traffic wardens.
Mallow is the only town in the county which has its parking overseen by a private company. Several councillors in recent months have questioned the large amount of money paid to the company Apcoa and have claimed its operatives are over-zealous in handing out tickets.
Apcoa has earned €1.4m from the council contract since 2014.
Traders sat in yesterday's meeting as Cllr James Kennedy asked council officials for clarification on whether the rescinding of the Apcoa contract is a decision which could be taken by councillors themselves, or if it a decision for the local authority's executive.
He was informed by Liz Donovan, the municipal district officer, that it is an executive decision.
She then said the matter will be discussed tomorrow between councillor and the council's director of services, Niall Healy, at a behind closed doors meeting at the council Cllr Kennedy pointed out there were half a dozen traders present at the meeting and argued that they should have the right to attend the behind closed doors meeting happening tomorrow.
“It is an important issue for the town,” he added.
Cllr John Paul O'Shea said he has been raising this issue since 2017 and it was also brought up again in October by Cllrs Tony O'Shea and Liam Madden.
“I for one fully support enforcement being done by our own traffic wardens,” Cllt Gearoid Murphy said.
After Cllr Murphy made the comment any debate on the issue was stifled after it was pointed out by council officials that Cllr Kennedy's motion has been answered and there was no need for any further discussion on the issue until today.
“It's a sensitive matter and shouldn't be in a public forum. You should wait for this to be discussed in committee with the director of services,” the council's senior executive officer Mary Hayes said.