ENNIS has driven ahead with becoming Ireland’s first town to offer free parking for eco-friendly cars. Amendments to the town’s parking bylaws and on street pay and display bylaws adopted this week by Ennis Town Council, include the provision for free parking for electric and hydrogen powered vehicles at two town car parks.
Under the new scheme, the vehicles will be able to park for free at Abbey Street and Glór car parks.
The measure had originally been proposed by Councillor Brian Meaney who believes this will be an incentive for people to use more environmentally friendly modes of transport, as well as encouraging visitors to the county capital.
“This is a first for Ireland” said the councillor following the adoption of the bylaws. “Ireland is almost completely dependent on very volatile imports of fossil fuels to power personal transport, we have to broaden our energy options. With only approximately 10 electric cars registered in Clare the changeover to the electric option has been very slow. For every five public charging points nationally, there is only one electric car. This is despite the advantages of electric vehicles for town driving, which include, substantially lower running costs, excellent driving performance, lowest motor tax band, no VRT, the lifestyle convenience of charging your electric car at home overnight and most importantly the major environmental benefits. Free parking is now another incentive it represents progressive thinking from the management and elected members of Ennis Town Council.”
The provision of free parking for e-car drivers complements the provision of onsite e-car charging points, which were provided for under bylaws introduced in 2012.
Commenting on the provision of free parking for electric vehicles, Mayor of Ennis Councillor Mary Coote Ryan said, “Drivers of environmentally-friendly e-cars travelling throughout County Clare will benefit by knowing that free parking is available in Ennis town centre.”
“People are beginning to engage with the potential of electric cars as more electric models come onto the market, and I am delighted that Ennis is playing its part in encouraging increased usage of such transportation,” the Mayor added.
Ger Dollard, Ennis Town Manager commented: “The provision of free car parking and charge points are aimed at encouraging road users across the county and further afield to consider an e-car as an alternative to petrol of diesel vehicles.”
Other measures under the new bylaws include provision for pay and display parking at McHugh Villas, creating 32 four hour parking spaces. This comes after locals contacted the council to highlight the difficulties being caused by non-residents parking in the area.
There will also be a removal of pay and display parking on the Drumbiggle Road, to the right of Ennis Town Council’s entrance. This will result in the removal of 34 spaces.
The adoption of the bylaws also makes way for the removal of four parking spaces on Abbey Street, outside the Cloister, to be replaced with double yellow lines. A previous meeting of Ennis Town Council to discuss the proposed new laws heard that gardai had made the request for these spaces to be removed. According to local gardai when occupied these spaces cause obstruction for traffic exiting and entering Ennis Garda Station.
The draft bylaws were put on public display by the council in January with the closing date for submissions on March 18. No submissions were received in relation to the proposed changes.
According to Leonard Cleary, town clerk, “Overall the bylaws seek to achieve a better management and use of parking in the town.”