Councillor says business group should have taken stronger stand over blood service vehicles parking fines

Aileen Hahesy

Aileen Hahesy

Carrick-on-Suir Business Association has intervened in the controversy over the Town Council’s decision to slap parking fines on two Irish Blood Transfusion Service vehicles on the town’s Main Street by agreeing to pay for vehicles transporting IBTS staff to park in a nearby car park in the future.

The Business Association met with Town Council management last week in the wake of the uproar over the parking fines and reached an agreement with the local authority to allow the IBTS unit for blood donations to park outside The Carraig Hotel for free while blood donation clinics were taking place inside the hotel.

For its part, COSBA has agreed to pay the cost of parking any other vehicles used for transporting IBTS staff in a car park opposite The Carraig Hotel.

In a statement issued last Thursday, COSBA stated that according to its agreement with the Town Council, the Blood Transfusion Service will not be charged for parking on the Main Street in Carrick-on-Suir in the future.

“Under the agreement, COSBA will give notice of the Blood Transfusion Board’s upcoming visits and a space will be allocated for their unit to be parked beside The Carraig Hotel,” explained a COSBA spokesperson.

“Any other vehicles used for transporting staff etc, unless specifically required by Blood Transfusion Service staff, will be parked across (the street) in the car park at COSBA’s expense.

“We are delighted that we can now put this issue to bed and start to concentrate on filling all too many empty parking spaces with shoppers,” the Business Association representative continued.

He pointed out that the IBTS blood donor clinics at The Carraig Hotel bring up to 250 people into Carrick-on-Suir town centre when they are taking place. Many blood donors and IBTS staff do other business in the town like shopping and buying meals while they are attending these clinics.

The COSBA spokesman added that this row over the parking fines had only deflected from the crisis that many businesses in the town are experiencing with the huge drop in turnover.

“We need to work together to save as many of the 500 jobs in retail in Carrick as possible and drive to create more.”

But Labour Cllr Bobby Fitzgerald, who last week condemned the Town Council’s action in issuing the traffic fines, is not happy with the agreement COSBA has reached with the local authority.

He said the Business Association shouldn’t have agreed to pay the parking fees for some IBTS vehicles. The organisation should have taken a stronger stand, stood its ground and insisted the IBTS be allowed park all its vehicles in the town centre for free as had been the case for years, he declared. Cllr Fitzgerald said he wasn’t satisfied with the explanations given by the Town Council for imposing the parking fines and asked why the Council had suddenly decided the IBTS should have to pay parking fees when its vehicles had parked on the street for free for years.

“The outcome is not satisfactory to me and at the end of the day a lot of people were appalled at this. The Town Clerk should be brave and say he was wrong.”

Carrick-on-Suir Town Clerk Michael O’Brien said the Town Council was satisfied with the agreement reached with COSBA. He considered it to be a reasonable agreement.

He said the Town Council tried to be as flexible as possible. All it wanted was advance notice (of IBTS clinics) and this arrangement was now in place.

When asked why the Council hadn’t agreed to allow all IBTS vehicles park in the town centre for free, Mr O’Brien pointed out that there was plenty of space for vehicles transporting people in the car parks in the town centre.