A restaurant in Cahir had threatened to lay off some staff because people who drove into the town for their lunch every day were now staying away because of parking charges in the Castle Street car park.
That was the claim made by Cllr. Andy Moloney at a meeting of Clonmel Borough District.
He feared that other pubs, restaurants and hotels would follow suit and consider laying off their “dinner time staff” and he requested that free parking would be made available in the Castle Street car park from 1-2pm from Monday to Friday.
Cllr. Moloney said he understood that this car park “takes in a few bob” but he didn’t think the Council would lose any money if parking was free from 1-2pm and it should be tried on a three-month pilot basis. For a lot of older people the lunch they had in Cahir was the one meal they could depend on daily.
He acknowledged there was a need for a traffic warden in the town and he said the warden was doing a great job, but there was a noticeable loss of trade among people who used to drive into the town centre for their lunch.
Those people were now travelling 16 minutes down the motorway to Mitchelstown, where one hotel provided free parking.
Cllr. Micheal Anglim said it was great to see the traffic warden back on the streets in Cahir.
District Administrator Michael O’Brien said that Cllr. Moloney’s proposal would be considered as part of the car parking strategy under the town centre initiative for Cahir, and draft plans would be available in October.
If there were changes they would have to be “cost neutral”. It was important to have spaces available and to keep traffic flowing. If parking was free, as in other areas, traffic flow tended to become blocked up.
Mr. O’Brien also pointed out that with the exception of the Castle Street car park there was free parking elsewhere throughout Cahir every day under the two-hour free parking arrangement.
Director of Services Sinead Carr said that parking was an issue in every town. It wasn’t about how much money the Council could collect and the intention was to bring traffic into the town, keep it moving and make spaces available.
They would have to look at parking in Cahir in its totality, not just in small bits.
In doing that the Council would work with the business community and motorists who parked in the town, Ms Carr added.