“Our prices are now lower than five years ago”
The row between caravan park owners and motor-home enthusiasts continues with the owner of a caravan park site on Achill denying suggestions that their industry is not affordable or unsupervised.
Caravan Park owner, Joe Lavelle hit back at suggestions made in last week’s Mayo News by the Motor Home Association that caravan sites had ‘for too long gone unsupervised’ and that sites continued to raise their prices despite not being up to scratch.
The war of words between the two parties erupted following a motion made to Mayo County Council to introduce bye-laws to prevent overnight parking of caravans, camper vans and tents on the roadside in the county.
Caravan-site operators have criticised ‘cheeky’ motor-home/camper van owners in particular for parking outside their premises and availing of the park’s facilities without paying the fees. Christine Quinn of the MHA rejected these claims adding that site owners should offer a parking-excluding-services option as many motor-home owners only want to stop over.
Joe Lavelle of Lavelle’s Caravan Park in Achill told The Mayo News that caravan parks were strictly regulated and dismissed suggestions they did not offer value for money.
“We are supervised by Mayo County Council and have to obtain a licence every year by the Council and we are also inspected by the HSE. We also have to obtain a permit from Fáilte Ireland and what she [Ms Quinn] is saying [regarding being supervision] is totally untrue. As regards to the argument over price, our prices are now lower than they were five years ago,” he said.
Mr Lavelle also said that allowing motor-home users to park on caravan sites at night without paying for the use of facilities was impractical as they would not be able to supervise them. He claimed that as soon as the owner is off the site they would use their facilities and stood over his claims that his facilities have been used by motor-home owners who park outside his site.
He added that caravan sites had specialised equipment for emptying chemical toilets and queried how motor-homes who do not use caravan sites dispose of their refuse.
The reasoning behind the introduction of the bye-laws is according to caravan park owners to safeguard the future of their industry which they say has suffered due to increased costs.
However, caravan park owners have been accused of failing to move with the times and cater for the increased popularity of motor-homes in Ireland which has over 11,000 registered users in the Republic of Ireland. They claim that across the continent and in the North of Ireland facilities are provided by communities for motor-homes to park overnight and if they are not welcome they will move to another county which does welcome them.