THE ‘abject failure’ of private parking operators to back city centre initiatives is having a major impact on trade, the City Council’s budget meeting has heard.
A number of angry city traders attended last night’s budget meeting, including Susan Ryan, who has spoken out publicly against the Patrick Street car ban measures, claiming that they are crippling her South Main Street beauty salon business.
Ms Ryan presented a letter to the elected members of the council, calling for the reversal of the car ban measures as a matter of urgency. Cars are not permitted to drive down Patrick Street between 3pm and 6.30pm daily.
She said evening parking incentives, proposed by City Hall for the festive period, are of no use to many businesses who cannot afford to pay staff extra to stay open late.
“With Christmas coming, it is essential that the car ban is reversed as we rely on the seasonal trade to carry us into the new year,” she said.
Ms Ryan also said that the communication between City Hall and small traders was lacking.
However, Fine Gael councillor John Buttimer turned the spotlight on private car park operators and demanded that they take steps to encourage more shoppers into the city by following the example set by City Hall.
Mr Buttimer claimed that the current climate of business discontent in the city will not be resolved by Cork City Council alone.
He said: “There is a significant piece of work to be done by the private parking sector in this city. They have not come to the table and it is their abject failure that is leading to a lot of the current difficulties that are being experienced.”
Fianna Fáil’s Seán Martin offered support to Ms Ryan and her fellow traders.
He said: “If something is not working, if people who are paying their rates come to us and raise red flags, there is an onus on us to go and meet those people. That door should always be open.”