Páircing woes: Call for 2km traffic exclusion zone around Páirc on matchdays

Páircing woes: Call for 2km traffic exclusion zone around Páirc on matchdays
Cars parked on grass areas opposite The Silver Key Bar & Restaurant, Ballinlough, Cork on Saturday. Residents of Ballinlough complained of gridlock and illegal parking in the housing estates and roads in the area with public green spaces used for illegal parking by GAA match patrons attending Pairc Ui Chaoimh. 

A FORMER Lord Mayor has called for a traffic ban within a 2km radius of Páirc Uí Chaoimh on match days.

Cllr Terry Shannon: Calling for a 2km exclusion zone for traffic on matchdays amid chaos in the Ballinlough area last week.
Cllr Terry Shannon: Calling for a 2km exclusion zone for traffic on matchdays amid chaos in the Ballinlough area last week.

The call from Fianna Fáil councillor Terry Shannon comes less than a week after traffic chaos hit the south-east of the city when the Cork hurlers played Tipperary at the stadium.

Residents reported dozens of cars abandoned on green areas during the course of the match, with access blocked to many houses and estates. While restrictions were in place in the immediate vicinity of the stadium, Mr Shannon said this has simply served to push traffic out to Ballinlough, the Boreenmanna Road and the Well Road instead.

Residents have called for crunch talks with stadium management ahead of the Cork footballers’ game against Kerry on June 23 amid fears that a repeat of last week’s chaos could emerge. The tie, which clashes with a sold out concert at Live at the Marquee, is expected to draw similar crowds to those at last Saturday’s match.

However, no such meeting has yet taken place.

Mr Shannon said: “This is an issue that comes up time and time again at our community forum. It came up this week and there was murder.”

He said that the current restrictions are ‘too narrow’ and need to be extended.

He is seeking a blanket ban on parking within a 2km radius of the stadium, a move which would extend to the Boreenmanna Road, Beaumont and the Ballinlough Road, as well as those areas already covered by the matchday cordons.

Pic: Larry Cummins
Pic: Larry Cummins

Mr Shannon said that the recent Ed Sheeran concerts, which attracted 40,000 people per day, showed that traffic chaos can easily be avoided in the area with the correct planning.

“[Concert organiser] Peter Aiken is a better neighbour to Ballinlough than the GAA,” he said.

“Last Saturday was a complete disaster. It was a threat to public safety. The next match is Cork v Kerry on June 23. That will attract massive crowds.”

Mr Shannon confirmed that city officials are examining the terms of planning granted for the development of Páirc Uí Chaoimh to assess whether more is required of the stadium management for these big events.

“It is a real health and safety concern,” he said.

“If there was an accident last week, you would have needed a helicopter to get in to people because access was totally blocked by cars parked on footpaths and green areas.”

He anticipates similar issues for the upcoming Kerry match if immediate steps aren’t taken.

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