€1 a day car parking in Fermoy car parks from May
They didn't manage to get free off-street parking for the rest of the year over the line, but Fermoy Town Councillors won a hefty concession at their budget meeting on Monday night, when it was agreed, after some judicious cuts in other areas were made to fund it, to introduce a fee of 50 cent for the first hour and €1 for the second and all subsequent hours. In other words, all-day parking in car parks for a euro a day from May.
Furthermore, anyone paying the €1 fee can move to other car parks in the town during the day without having to renew their ticket.
At the start of their budget talks, a number of town councillors were anxious to provide free car parking for the rest of the year, as an incentive to people to come to the town to shop and do business. They felt it was an advantage Fermoy badly needs, given the hassle of the on-going flood relief works and the economic downturn.
One of those who wanted it and indeed said he would not vote in favour of the budget unless some form of concessionary parking was introduced, was Cllr Michael Hanley. On two occasions previously, he'd made public appeals to people working in the town not to take up the free spaces in the car parks and instead to leave them for shoppers.
Having them occupied by workers parking up all day, especially in the library car park which is closest to the town centre, defeated the purpose, he said. The incentive being offered to park up all day for a euro from May is now likely to prove too big a temptation to workers and the practice looks set to continue.
Cllr Noel McCarthy, who came to the defence of workers previously, pointing out that they too are shoppers and spend money in the town, was happy with the compromise reached. He welcomed the fact that parking will remain free from January until May when the flood works finish and he felt after that the one euro was very good value and would encourage people to come to Fermoy as well as benefitting staff who work in the town. "It's the best we can get," he said.
A casualty seems to be the two weeks free car parking previously offered by the town council at Christmas. When asked about it by councillors John Murphy and Michael Hanley, the town manager Niall Healy's reply was a rather non-committal "we'll see."
He pointed out that it'd mean having to find another €2,000 to make up the loss of revenue. Cllr Hanley said he'd be prepared to propose adoption of the budget if it included free Christmas-time parking and he may have been under the impression that it was when he went on to vote to pass the budget later in the meeting.
Cllr McCarthy however, conceded that it was lost, remarking that he'd have loved to have seen Christmas included but he understood they must be able to make up the shortfall in order to keep it.
The hike in the on-street parking charge meanwhile is likely to push even more motorists into the car parks. It's going from 70 cent to €1 an hour to make up for the loss of revenue to the council in retaining the free off-street parking until May and reducing the charge from the previous €17.50 per week to just €5 for the remainder of the year.
The monthly parking permit is to drop from €50 to €30 and the annual parking permit is being slashed from €400 to €260.
Thursday 30th January 7:08pm