CORK City Council needs to acknowledge the ‘PR disaster’ of the Patrick Street car ban and consult with traders before any further traffic plans are progressed, according to Fianna Fáil councillors.
The majority of the party’s City Council members did a walkabout of the city centre to meet traders yesterday during the 3pm to 6.30pm period when Patrick Street is limited to just buses, taxis, and bicycles.
Traders told them that they are being forced to cut hours for staff due to the lack of customers. They said that the ban meant people saw 3pm as a deadline to leave town and said the City Council’s handling of the plan led to confusion and was a “PR disaster.”
Although Fianna Fáil broadly supports the scheme, Cllr Terry Shannon agreed with the traders’ assessment.
“You have to acknowledge that mistakes were made, and you’ve got to try and improve on it,” he said.
“It works in other cities and it will work in Cork, but traders can’t wait three months. We need to bring in other measures to help the traders while this is bedded down,” he said.
Cllr Tim Brosnan said that the council has to stall the implementation of the phased Cork City Movement Strategy.
“This is only phase two. We need a suspension on any progress on the rest of this until these issues are ironed out.”
Cllr Kenneth O’Flynn went further and called for the council to immediately reverse the ban and implement a marketing strategy for the city centre. He said that ring-fencing 0.75% of annual commercial rates would give the council more than €500,000 to spend to “immediately and aggressively market the attractiveness of visiting, shopping and staying in Cork City.”