Monday 23 July 2018

Council votes against parking price reduction

Alison Comyn

Drogheda councillors have voted against lowering the rate of parking from €1.20 per hour to €1 an hour, in line with the charge in Dundalk.

Six councillors voted against the amendment to the new draft parking bye-laws, with only the proposer, Independent Councillor Kevin Callan, Fine Gael Cllr Richie Culhane and Fianna Fail Cllr Tommy Byrne wanting to reduce the cost.

Cllr Frank Godfrey abstained, after his earlier proposal to lower the cost to 50c per hour failed to be seconded.

Cllr Callan said although he was shocked and disappointed, it’s only the start of his campaign to get Drogheda treated equally with a €1 per hour charge just like Dundalk.

‘I will continue to push and fight in the process to get the rate set the same as Dundalk.

All the councillors supported me two years ago when I fought to have the pay parking permit charge that was only charged in Drogheda removed and was making this proposal on the same grounds of equal treatment’ he told the Drogheda Independent.

“I expect support from the members as before, on the basis this is an unfair charging structure and we need to make it fair and equal”.

In response to the proposal, the council’s Chief Executive Joan Martin confirmed she could facilitate the reduction this year from within her budget without cutting any services.

‘Can I accommodate further loss? In theory yes,’ Ms Martin told the meeting. ‘If you support Cllr Callan’s proposal, I will find a way to deal with it.’

Despite these assurances, Cllrs Paul Bell, Kenneth Flood, Joanna Byrne, Pio Smith, Oliver Tully and David Saurin all voted against it, with Cllr Godfrey abstaining, and Cllr Byrne supporting.

‘I was dissatisfied with the response from Joan Martin on whether it would affect future budgets,’ commented Cllr Bell, ‘and unlike Dundalk, Drogheda has 270 spaces for workers, on the Donore Road and Mell, and I’d like to concentrate on getting funding to replace lost spaces in Scarlet Street.

‘We identified several issues in that draft that need to be addressed properly,’ added Cllr Flood. ‘We will address all issues, including the parking rate in the submissions we will be making.’

Cllr Callan said that some people may say this is not a big issue but to him it is a huge issue as it is unfair.

‘I will fight and fight and fight until this is achieved because you cannot allow your town to be unfairly taxed.’

Drogheda Independent