SENATOR Lorraine Higgins has called for the provision of free car parking in Gort and other South and East Galway towns in the lead-up to Christmas to help boost town centre trade. The Labour senator has also urged Galway County Council to provide a public car park in Kinvara to tackle its ongoing problem with a lack of parking.
“People are moving past towns like Athenry, Loughrea, Gort and Portumna to shop. Why not have free parking in the towns from now until Christmas, in order to give a much-needed shot in the arm for those businesses. I am proposing this as a potential way to give them a boost before Christmas,” she said.
“If we are to make a difference to town centres, particularly if we are to protect our small shops, then free parking is exactly the kind of measure that needs to be introduced in the run-up to Christmas,” Senator Higgins added.
According to the Athenry woman, the local authority should be working with small businesses to encourage more people to shop locally.
“Galway County Council needs to work with local businesses to boost trade and keep areas vibrant through parking incentives, such as free short-stay measures. I have made representations to the director of services to ask that this initiative be introduced in all East Galway towns so as to ensure a high turnover of shoppers and more business in our towns.”
Separately, Senator Higgins called on Galway County Council to provide car-parking facilities in Kinvara. She explained that Kinvara’s ongoing parking problems could only be solved with the creation of proper car-parking facilities.
“In many ways, Kinvara is a victim of its own tourism success story and a car park is the only solution long-term,” she said.
“Residents have ongoing difficulties concerning parking, particularly during the town’s two festival weekends, Fleadh na gCuach in May and Crinniú na mBád in August and every weekend when there is an influx of people for the market.
“Galway County Council must take a long-term view of the future infrastructural needs of Kinvara and make enquiries concerning available landbanks in the area to cater for this pressing need,” said Senator Higgins.