CALLS to lift the car ban on Patrick Street have been reignited.
The car ban, in place from 3pm to 6.30pm each day, was reintroduced in August.
English Market butcher Tom Durcan said businesses are suffering and City Council will have to do something.
“It sticks out like a sore thumb that town is quiet after 3pm each day. The problem was caused by the way the ban was brought in by City Council initially, cancelled, and then reintroduced.
“When the ban was lifted, things picked up a small bit, but the damage was done. City Council would have to do something absolutely outrageous to get people back into town, like give them free parking. The problem that was caused by the first car ban, to fix it would cost a fortune, but it will have to be fixed. I would prefer if they lifted the ban again,” he added.
Councillor Des Cahill (FG) has recently taken up work at the English Market and says the city centre is quiet most days after 3pm, because of the ban. He said Cork City Council will not lose out on the funding for Bus Connects, if it reverses the ban. The Government announced the €200m Bus Connects package last year to transform city bus services.
The initiative proposes new park-and-ride facilities, a network of ‘next generation’ bus corridors, and better use of low-emission vehicles, as well as the total redesign of the urban bus network to facilitate faster transport throughout the city and suburbs.
“I have been on the Cork City Centre CORE group (which includes Cork Chamber, Cork Business Association, gardaí, and Bus Éireann) and I have listened to all sides of the argument. I am now working down at the English Market, since early December, and I can see, first-hand, the issues,” said Mr Cahill. “I have spoken to Simon Coveney and asked him if the funding for Bus Connect was conditional with the car ban. He believes it is not.
“That is the primary reason why the ban is in place. From a logical point of view, it shouldn’t really have an impact on retail, because you can’t park on Patrick Street. However, the reality is, it is having an impact.
“From working in the city centre, I have seen the time patterns and I have talked to numerous traders. I propose they lift the ban. Bus Connects is a 10-year project and, until a significant amount of the bus lanes and works are done, I don’t see any value in persisting with the ban and I don’t believe the Government are going to hold back the funding, if we reverse it,” he added.
Councillor Tim Brosnan (FF) will bring a motion to Cork City Council tonight, asking for the Cork City Centre Movement Strategy to be suspended. Mr Cahill said he will propose an amendment to suspend just the car ban.