A CORK politician has proposed pedestrianising and roofing part of Kinsale town centre and suggested retractable roofs should be seen as a creative solution to drive footfall in Irish towns.
Speaking at a recent ‘Doing Business in Kinsale Meeting’, Minister Jim Daly said ‘the market street and town squares’ need to return to rural Ireland.
“We need to create age friendly spaces for everyone to hang out, chat, sit, browse shop windows and socialise in general,” he said.
“Every town should have central hub for people to congregate for whatever reason, and busy vehicular streets have robbed many of our towns of the very essence of what they are supposed to be.”
He proposed banning traffic from Pearse Street in Kinsale, to create an outdoor space that would increase footfall and be available for recreational use.
Even more ambitiously, the Cork South-West TD suggested roofing part of the resulting open space, so that markets and social functions such as street entertainment could be planned and held regardless of the weather.
“Anything is possible now, hit a button and the roof will open on the fine day, and close on a bad one,” Mr Daly said.
“This must be a ground-up proposal and receive the support of the local businesses and the community at large, if there is a will there’s a way.
“I would be very confident we can overcome any obstacles and concerns that traders may have such as parking, with some creative thinking.
Mr Daly said his Fine Gael colleague, Minister for Rural Affairs Michael Ring, would not be found wanting when it comes to funding good proactive ideas, put forward by local communities.
A further meeting is planned with stakeholders in the town in the coming weeks to formally progress the idea with Cork County Council.