Constituents forced to ‘take a chance’ on parking as machines still out of operation despite pay parking due to recommence on July 1
Councillors expressed their fury and disbelief that Mallow’s pay parking infrastructure wasn’t in place and operational on July 1 when the Covid era of free parking in the town was scheduled to end during the monthly meeting held online today.
Fine Gael councillor Tony O’Shea raised the issue after he had been contacted by numerous people who had texted him to complain already this morning.
One constituent had sent him a text to say that he had parked in the Garda Station (Bowling Green) car park but the parking meter was still taped over and a sign was erected advising that free parking was still in force.
"It’s not good enough,” Cllr O’Shea reported the constituent as having texted. “I have to go to work and take a chance on parking here and hopefully not getting a ticket.by the end of the day.”
Cllr O’Shea said that he was ‘a bit cross’ – a sentiment which was echoed by other councillors – as the previous meeting of Mallow/Kanturk Municipal District Council had decided that pay parking would recommence on July 1.
The Fine Gael elected member said that no one who got a parking ticket on Friday should be expected to have to pay the fine given that the machines weren’t in operation.
“Any ticket I will get from constituents I will pass on to you,” Cllr O’Shea told Municipal District Officer Matthew Farrell.
Responding to Cllr O’Shea and other councillors, Mr Farrell said that an instruction had been given to the private company contracted to implement pay parking in Mallow following the June meeting of the council to ensure the pay parking machines were ready for the return of pay parking regime.
He added that there was an appeal procedure in place for those people who might have got tickets already as the meeting was in progress and that the machines not being in operation would be a ground to put the ticket aside.
"I don’t know who the contractor is – if he was told that pay parking should be in place today, it's not good enough that it isn’t," Cllr Tony O’Shea said. He added that he had been raising the issue about signage around the pay parking machines and the car parks for several months.
When contacted by The Corkman, Cllr O’Shea agreed that it was fair to describe as a ‘fiasco' the failure to prepare the pay parking machine, signage and infrastructure for the start of the regime on July 1.
"They were given sufficient time to have their ducks in a row for today,” said Cllr. O'Shea. "The bottom line is don’t roll out something until it's organised properly.”
Cllr Liam Madden said that people who got tickets on Friday shouldn’t have to appeal. “Their tickets should be cancelled,” he said.
After lunch on Friday it emerged that a number of the pay parking machines in the town had their covers removed during or after the meeting took place. This presents a further difficulty as the machines still contain information telling motorists that parking is Friday afternoon and on Saturday.
However a new protocol is now in place which means that free parking on Friday afternoons and on Saturdays is no longer available and, instead, motorists get one hour free parking at all times.
Cllr O’Shea feels that signage notifying people of the change in regulations should have been put in place some time ago to ensure people would have been informed. He now feels that motorists who park in Mallow on Friday afternoon could end up getting tickets because of the wrong information on the signs and pay parking machines telling motorists that Friday afternoon parking was free when that no longer is the case.