A councillor drew the wrath of a senior Town Council official when he suggested the extra grace period of free parking at the town’s William Street Car Park for motorists attending funerals was operated on a “nod and wink” basis.
Town Clerk Michael O’Brien threatened to end the “flexible approach” the Town Council took towards motorists parking at this car park while attending funerals when SF Cllr David Dunne used this term to describe the informal free parking arrangement at the local authority’s February meeting.
“I will not be accused of operating the system on a nod and wink. There is an informal arrangement in place. If the accusation is being made I have no problem rigorously applying the by-laws,” declared the incensed Town Clerk.
Cllr Dunne, who was attending his second Council meeting since his co-option, withdrew the comment.
His “nod and wink” remark was made in response to the answer Mr O’Brien gave to his motion calling on the Council to bring in two hours of free parking at the William St. Car Park to cover the duration of a funeral mass and burial.
Cllr Dunne said he attended a number of funerals where people travelled from other areas and didn’t know how long they could park for free there. He suggested signage be erected to clarify the situation. He recalled seeing a motorist nearly falling rushing back to her car after a funeral to put a ticket up. Cllr Margaret Croke supported the motion as she had heard of a number of people receiving parking tickets there while attending funerals.
In his written response, Mr O’Brien said in accordance with the William St. Car Park lease, parking was free for those attending church services and a further grace period for those attending funerals was in place. He told the meeting this was a non-existent problem. There was an hour of free parking and the traffic wardens used their discretion after that. This informal agreement was working effectively, he said.