ARDEE'S pay parking battle could be heading for a resolution in the coming weeks.
A top council official has said that he hopes to see progress 'in a short number of weeks' as councillors and traders battle to see a free first hour return to the streets of the town.
A latest proposal is to change the bye-laws, enabling the restoration of the free one hour and free Saturday afternoon, but the rate rising from 40 cent per hour to €1.
Director of Services Joe McGuinness said there was an internal review of the pilot scheme under way at the moment. 'We are looking at every possible solution,' he said.
Cllr Finnan McCoy is backing the free hour, feeling the Ardee story is no different than any other small town in Ireland.
Speaking at last week's town council meeting, Padraig McKenny said there had been an 'outcry' after a rash of parking fines were handed out after the pilot scheme ended.
'Are the revenue from fines budgeted in the accounts and is there a target to be met by the wardens?,' he asked.
Joe McGuinness said there was 'no quota or target' for wardens and income was budgeted from the previous figures. He then remarked that it had been envisaged that the level of rate payments would rise, given the free parking, but that hadn't happened.
A number of the councillors felt this wasn't fair on those paying the rates and that the two issues should be regarded as separate matters.
Cllr Mary Kavanagh felt that the pay parking came in to help traffic management but it now seems 'to be a fundraising venture'.