City shops are cutting staff hours due to traffic ban

City shops are cutting staff hours due to traffic ban

Pedestrians on Patrick St after 3pm.

CITY centre traders are already cutting staff hours, just three weeks into the Patrick Street car ban.

However, the City Council insisted that it would have been “irresponsible” not to act against congestion.

Michael Ryan, who runs The Cornstore and CoqBull, said that he has seen his early-evening trade drop off by 50%, as people are avoiding town because of concerns about getting caught in traffic caused by the ban, which bars traffic other than buses, taxis, and bicycles from using Patrick’s Street between 3pm and 6.30pm. He said that he has had to cut hours for his part-time staff.

Cork traders Denis Stanton, Gentleman’s Quarters; Michael Reidy, Le Chateau; John Grace, John Grace’s Chicken; Wyon Stansfeld, Pinocchio’s; Mike Ryan, Coqbull and The Cornstore, and Pam O’Regan, Savilles Menswear, before meeting Fianna Fáil councillors to discuss the traffic restrictions on Patrick Street. Picture: David Keane. 
Cork traders Denis Stanton, Gentleman’s Quarters; Michael Reidy, Le Chateau; John Grace, John Grace’s Chicken; Wyon Stansfeld, Pinocchio’s; Mike Ryan, Coqbull and The Cornstore, and Pam O’Regan, Savilles Menswear, before meeting Fianna Fáil councillors to discuss the traffic restrictions on Patrick Street. Picture: David Keane. 

“I am actually cutting my rosters. I have 75 full-time people, but I also have 25 part-time people. If we’re busy at the weekends, we can bring people in. They are students and young people. We have all aspects. We have people paying mortgages, putting their own kids through college, and kids going through college themselves. The first people to suffer are the ones on the part-time work,” he said.

Pam O’Regan of Saville Menswear said that she has had to cut back on people’s hours too as trade is down.

“You have to cut your cloth accordingly, so we have had to cut hours. We don’t bring in the young students to do stock work...etc for us, because you can’t afford to be paying them,” she said.

However, City Council Paul Moynihan said that the council had to act on congestion in order to protect investments that are supporting the city.

He said the congestion would “choke” the city and make it harder for business to grow.

“With growth is coming congestion. We have surpassed the traffic volume of 2007. Realistically, we are planning for congestion if we do nothing. It would be irresponsible to do that,” he said.

Michael Reidy, Le ChateauI think it's been a PR disaster for the Cork City Council.Nobody has said anything positive. It's all negative. There are good things as well but nobody is speaking about the good things.Nothing will happen unless the big ratepayers come together - Debenhams, Penneys, Brown Thomas, and Opera Lane. If they come together, they might listen, but they are not listening to the small businesses.Pam O'Regan, Saville Menswear:"We basically had a week's closure with the ice and snow, we had the storm back along, we had St Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday. We've lost a lot of valuable trading days, and now we have this on top of it.The problem is the cart is before the horse.  We're not against pedestrianisation. Oliver Plunkett Street is pedestrianised. It's a different street. St Patrick's street is a big wide street. It's a main artery.Denis Stanton, Gentlemen's Quarters:"It's gone very quiet in the afternoons. From 3pm on, even from 2.30pm, it goes down to nothing."We have had to lower our staff. People are going to lose jobs. They are not thinking. It needs to be addressed and put back to normal. What the council should do is have affordable parking on the fringes of the city, and bus people into the city."Wyon Stansfeld, Pinnochio's Toys and Gifts:"Paul Street is a pedestrianised area, all the way down as far as the Coal Quay. Half of Patrick's Street is pedestrianised. How much pedestrianisation do you need? Every city centre is under ferocious pressure from the internet and shopping centres. If people one day that they are not coming in and are going to Wilton instead, they will go to Wilton for the next ten years.

Michael Reidy, Le Chateau
Michael Reidy, Le Chateau

Pam O'Regan, Saville Menswear:"We basically had a week's closure with the ice and snow, we had the storm back along, we had St Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday. We've lost a lot of valuable trading days, and now we have this on top of it.The problem is the cart is before the horse.  We're not against pedestrianisation. Oliver Plunkett Street is pedestrianised. It's a different street. St Patrick's street is a big wide street. It's a main artery.Denis Stanton, Gentlemen's Quarters:"It's gone very quiet in the afternoons. From 3pm on, even from 2.30pm, it goes down to nothing."We have had to lower our staff. People are going to lose jobs. They are not thinking. It needs to be addressed and put back to normal. What the council should do is have affordable parking on the fringes of the city, and bus people into the city."Wyon Stansfeld, Pinnochio's Toys and Gifts:"Paul Street is a pedestrianised area, all the way down as far as the Coal Quay. Half of Patrick's Street is pedestrianised. How much pedestrianisation do you need? Every city centre is under ferocious pressure from the internet and shopping centres. If people one day that they are not coming in and are going to Wilton instead, they will go to Wilton for the next ten years.Michael Ryan, The Cornstore and Coqbull:"From 7pm on, I haven't seen much of a drop-off. But, if you make things difficult for people they are not going to choose the most difficult option. When people go and do their bit of shopping, naturally they will go and grab a bite to eat afterwards. "I can definitely see our early-bird, middle of the afternoon trade drop. That has been cut by 50%."

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