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Call for temporary solution to solve 'disaster' of parking at Morriscastle

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Councillor Mary Farrell

Councillor Mary Farrell

Councillor Pip Breen

Councillor Pip Breen

Councillor Willie Kavanagh

Councillor Willie Kavanagh

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Councillor Mary Farrell

Scenes of chaos were described by councillors after busy weekend traffic was seen particularly in the area of Morriscastle, Kilmuckridge.

Cllr Mary Farrell told the monthly Municipal District meeting that she saw it first hand and said a temporary solution to the car parking issue was needed quickly before a more long-term solution could be decided on.

'It's a disaster and it's just impossible to control. We're encouraging tourism and for people to come and enjoy the beautiful beaches but when they do, we don't have the car parking facilities for them. It's not just the people who are here staying, it's the day trippers from places in the midlands, Kilkenny and Carlow.

'There were cases of gridlock at the weekend when cars were stuck on either side and they couldn't give way. We can't expect people to come when have no place for them to park, they end up double-parked. We need to look at what action we can take in terms of temporary measures. Many solutions have been offered over the years but unless we sit down and work it out, we'll continue to have the problem,' said Cllr Farrell.

'People need to realise that they can't get parking on the beach and they'll have to walk down on to the beach. The guards suggested double yellow lines so they can enforce it and maybe we could arrange a meeting with the Roads section to sit down with An Garda Siochána,' she said.

Cllr Joe Sullivan said that this problem occurs every summer, and suggested that maybe a commuter bus could go from the village to the beach.

Councillor Farrell said that this would cause the same parking issues in the village, but had been raised before. She said that landowners had been approached about offering up a field temporarily as a car park.

Cllr Pip Breen said that this has been a problem for years, but described Kilmuckridge as a 'victim of its own success' in a chicken and egg situation with no easy solution.

'We have six weeks of this left and it's an accident waiting to happen. In hindsight, this issue should have been addressed before the footpath went in. We have a lot of people holidaying at home this year and people who go to the seaside with a buggy, they go for the day and they aren't going to walk three or four miles to the beach.

'People are getting very annoyed, and we don't want to damage the image of Morriscastle with this. The solution is more car parking but we're waiting on word back from Planning and the Environmental Department,' he said.

Councillor Anthony Donohoe said that people shouldn't expect to park right beside an amenity.

Cllrs Donal Kenny, Willie Kavanagh and Anthony Donohoe agreed that charging entry to a field for the summer months with permission of a landowner could work. Cllr Sullivan pointed out that the Council would have to insure it, but it may be the best option.

Cllr Farrell said some landowners feel that the Council will eventually take ownership and have concerns about that.

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux said that it didn't make sense for the Council to spend money on a car park that would be empty for seven or eight months of the year. 'We don't know our own future financial situation and in another three or four weeks, this problem will sort itself out,' he said.

Director of Services Amanda Byrne said that if a car park is going to be created temporarily, a policing or management solution would also be needed.

'Even if there is a car park, people will still drive down to see if there's parking beside the beach. We need to make a serious offer to a landowner if there is one closer to the beach. We can't justify a huge investment, this has to be something that's quick, easy and cheap.

'It's not realistic for us to think that the guards will be policing this for us,' she said.

Gerry Forde from the Environmental Department of Wexford County Council said that the council is currently looking at a more permanent option for next year and are in talks with a landowner.

At the moment, the team is looking at additional measures to patrol beaches, as well as installing overflow car parks. He said that Wexford beaches were 'never as busy', particularly in Morriscastle and Curracloe.

Neville Shaw of the Roads Section said that, if needed, he can paint double yellow lines at short notice.

'We need to find the permanent solution, we're close to one, as Gerry said, and we're progressing that at the moment - it may happen next year. Until we have a place where we can safely keep cars off the road, double yellow lines can work but businesses may be unhappy with that on both sides of the road. We just need to give people space,' he said.

Cllr Willie Kavanagh suggested that the Kilmuckridge Development Group take over responsibility for the temporary car park at Morriscastle, as a means of collecting money for progressing local projects.

Councillor Farrell said that this would be an option.

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