Carrick-on-Suir Town Council management have come under fire for the issuing of traffic fines to two Irish Blood Transfusion Services vehicles parked in the town centre while a blood donor clinic was taking place in a local hotel.
Labour county councillor Bobby Fitzgerald said he was ashamed of the Council’s decision to slap fines on the two vehicles parked outside The Carraig Hotel on Main Street last Wednesday afternoon, September 19, while IBTS nurses and staff collected blood donations at the clinic in the hotel.
The councillor said he received phone calls from numerous members of the public, business people and medical professionals in Carrick-on-Suir expressing their deep anger and annoyance at the issuing of the fines for parking beyond the permitted time on the Main Street.
“An average of over 250 people visited the clinic over the two days and provided life saving blood donations for clinical care of patients,” Cllr Fitzgerald told The Nationalist.
“The need for blood and blood plasma for injury, surgery, chemotherapy, cancer treatment and platelet uses has never been as high in this country and every assistance should be given to facilitate this essential service, especially when the number of donors has been falling.”
Cllr Fitzgerald, who personally paid the two IBTS traffic fines, said he understood the traffic warden was reluctant to issue the fines and only issued them under instructions from Council management.
He called on the Town Clerk to exercise common sense in the imposition of these fines and accused Town Council management of pursuing a policy of issuing traffic fines to generate income for the local authority.
Cllr Flynn is also angry that a traffic fine was recently slapped on a bus leaving off 42 American tourists at The Carraig Hotel, who were staying in the town for a number of days.
“We should be encouraging people and services to be retained and made welcome in the town instead of putting obstacles in the way of generating business and attracting footfall. The local authority needs to play its part and exercise common sense,” he declared.
Carrick-on-Suir Town Clerk Michael O’Brien has defended the decision to issue the traffic fines to the IBTS vehicles, and tour bus.
He said the Irish Blood Transfusion Service was a public service and not a voluntary organisation and its two vehicles were parked outside the hotel all day without displaying any parking tickets.
One of the vehicles was used to transport the nurses and assistants to the hotel and there wasn’t any reason why it couldn’t be parked in the hotel car park or one of the town’s other car parks, he argued.
Mr O’Brien pointed out that if the IBTS had contacted the Town Council in advance of the clinic, he was sure the local authority would have been happy to make some arrangement with them.
“They were taking up approximately five car parking spaces without any advance notice. They were parked in a prominent location where there are issues with traffic management and double parking.”
Mr O’Brien added that if the IBTS felt it had been unfairly treated it could appeal the fines.
In relation to the fine imposed on the tour bus, Mr O’Brien said the bus had been incorrectly parked in a disabled parking space.
He said it was the traffic wardens’ and Council’s role to implement the traffic by-laws and this was what was done in both these cases.
He strongly rejected Cllr Fitzgerald’s accusation that the Council was pursuing a policy of generating more income from traffic fines.