The controversial restrictions on the street lasted just three weeks amid pressure from city business lobbies, who claimed it was causing footfall to dwindle and sales to collapse.
City Hall last night agreed to suspend the restrictions, a key component of the City Centre Movement Strategy, until August 9 with immediate effect.
They also agreed to undertake a comprehensive promotional campaign for the city alongside interaction with businesses, while recently introduced parking initiatives, including the free Black Ash park and ride, will continue.
Philip Gillivan, President of the Cork Business Association, welcomed the moves and said the next month will be vital for traders, who have struggled in the face of poor weather and online competition.
“I’m delighted and relieved that common sense has prevailed,” Mr Gillivan said. “We have a great chance over the next few months to all work together in a positive way because we all know Cork city has to change in how we move around, but not to the detriment of a certain section which is the business community.” He said he would have preferred a six-month suspension of the car ban to cover the holiday period.
Yesterday’s vote came after mounting pressure from the city’s business community. A special meeting of Cork City Council was called to tackle the issue, with elected members voting unanimously to reverse the changes.
“The pause of the movement strategy is to allow time to tweak the policy, which remains firmly in place as a core aim: to address current congestion in the city and plan for its expansion,” he said.
Green Party councillor Oliver Moran, meanwhile, said he hoped the temporary shelving of the plan will lead to the development of a city centre retail and living strategy.