Parking situation is 'killing trade' in the centre of Drogheda
A local restaurant owner says that a 'common sense' approach is needed in relation to parking in the centre of Drogheda - before too many shops are forced to close their doors.
A major factor are parking fines - with both customers and traders feeling the impact.
'If something is not done, you'll see a lot of places close up by the end of this year. It's just completely crazy at this stage. We are slowly being put out of business and we can't let that happen,' an angry Robbie Donegan stated this week.
The owner of Annie's Restaurant on Meatmarket Lane, his business depends on deliveries being made to Dyer Street.
But time and time again, he's picked up parking tickets - now over a dozen - and the situation is getting worse.
'We are trying to run a business here, employing local people and providing a local service. But the system needs to change. Even vans delivering to us have received parking fines.'
He says he'd welcome a 'sit down meeting' with fellow traders and someone from the council to iron out the issues on Dyer Street and West Street.
'Trying to run a business in these circumstances is unreal. I have contacted the council in Dundalk and to be fair, the official there has helped to sort out a number of the tickets.
'But this is an ongoing issue and is impacting badly on the business community that depend on deliveries in this part of the town.
'The ticket fines just keep going up and up and we don't know where this will end. The council have to start thinking about the business community much more in the centre of Drogheda - if they want a centre of Drogheda.
'West Street is the main street and all businesses will say footfall is a key issue, given that people can go and shop and eat in the retail parks where parking is plentiful and free.
He says he has come across people who have received tickets and said goodbye to parking in the centre of town. 'They are now going to Tesco and Aldi and Lidl and the retail parks.'
'A lot of those people could be older citizens and some on tight budgets and getting a parking fine is a big blow to them.
'2018 is going to be a big year for Drogheda with the Fleadh coming. It's time to sort out the parking issues before then.
He feels the council won't have any issue collecting rates because there won't be many businesses open to pay them. 'West Street needs a big boost and a much more constructive approach from the council. Don't let the street die, that's all I'd say to them.'
A further issue has also arisen on Meatmarket Lane with the council erecting a barrier at the bottom of the street to prevent parking.
Just before Christmas a customer in Annies became unwell and needed an ambulance but it couldn't get up the lane. It took some time to get a key to unlock the barrier to allow the ambulance through.