Thursday 23 May 2019

Fury over cost of Mallow pay parking regime

'The extent of the money being handed over is bordering on the obscene'

Bill Browne

The thorny issue of the pay-parking regime in Mallow, and specifically how the revenue generated through it is distributed, has once again come under the spotlight.

This after Labour Mallow local election candidate James Kennedy branded the amount of money handed over to APCOA, the private company managing the regime, as "bordering on the obscene." 

He said that figures released to him and Deputy Séan Sherlock under Freedom of Information had revealed that almost €1.3million has been "handed over" to APCOA since their contract was renewed in 2014. 

Last September The Corkman revealed that a figure just shy of €53,000 was allocated last year to three local projects in the Mallow area, despite the fact that APCOA raked in €242,545.89 from pay parking in 2017.

At the time local Sinn Fein councillor Melissa Mullane described the divided return as "poor" and questioned whether the regime was offering value for money. 

"Personally, I do not think so," she said.  Deputy Sherlock also commented on the issue, questioning why it was not possible for the council to appoint its own traffic wardens instead of paying a private contractor. 

He said it was "complete nonsense" to suggest that a recruitment embargo on local authorities prevented the recruitment of a Council traffic warden.

Re-raising the issue, Mr Kennedy, a former Mallow Town councillor, slammed the continued payment to a private company for the operation of pay parking in the town. 

He said the figures showed that a combined total of €1,352,149.75 had been paid to APCOA by Cork County Council since 2014. 

Broken down annually, the payments were: €323,711 in 2014; €336,411.37 (2015); €209,248.08 (2016); €242,545.89 (2017) and €204,602.20 (2018).  Mr Kennedy said the figures showed that so far this year €18,443.62 (incl VAT) has been paid out and a further invoice of €17,187.59 was currently being processed. 

"This is Mallow money leaving Mallow, at a time when we badly need such funds for reinvestment purposes. We have to start traffic management ourselves again and not outsource to a private company," said Mr Kennedy. 

He said that if elected to Cork County Council he will fight "tooth and nail" to ensure the APCOA contract is not renewed, which expires in January of next year, and the authority begins to operate the management of its own car parks in Mallow again.

"Everyone agrees we need parking management in the town but the extent of money being handed over is bordering on the obscene. Something needs to change, someone must stand up for Mallow in County Hall," said Mr Kennedy.