REDUCING parking fees in the town by 30c would result in a cut in services, Ennis’ town clerk Leonard Cleary has stated as calls were made this week to bring down the price of parking.
Councillor Pat Daly, at this week’s meeting of Ennis East Electoral Area councillors, urged the county council to “seriously look at reducing the cost of parking per hour in Ennis from €1.30 to €1 per hour, particularly due to the fact that business in the town is down substantially.”
He went on, “I’ve spoken to a lot of business people in the town recently and they are finding it very difficult to pay rates. A lot of them blame parking, saying it is too expensive and people are going to shopping centres in Limerick and Galway. If businesses can’t pay their rates, it will be a serious situation for Ennis Town Council and Clare County Council. Most towns in the West of Ireland have €1 parking, why not Ennis?”
He recalled the success of the Christmas parking initiative, where free parking was offered until 12 noon.
He was supported by Councillor Johnny Flynn, who stated that while parking charges are an important source of income for the local authority “people expect a bit of value”.
The meeting was told Ennis Town Council is the local authority for this area. Ger Dollard, Ennis town manager, stated Ennis Town Council is “very aware of the pressures on business and we are working quite hard on alleviating this with a number of initiatives that are being put in place.
“I do not accept that parking is to blame and I don’t accept €1.30 an hour is too expensive. There is good-value long-term parking within easy reach of the town centre.”
Leonard Cleary, town clerk with Ennis Town Council, responded to Councillor Daly’s notice of motion stating, “Ennis Town Council is currently in the process of reviewing Ennis parking bylaws, primarily with the intention of managing customer access and maximising their experience of Ennis town.
“This will involve a public consultation process. The parking fees are an integral part of the income utilised to balance the Ennis Town Council budget for services. Any reduction in parking fees would reduce the budget income available and hence impact on the delivery of services to the public in Ennis.
“If a decision were to be made to reduce parking fees, this would have to be coupled with a decision as to which services would be curtailed or withdrawn. This matter will be considered by Ennis Town Council as the local authority for this functional area.”