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Camper-van owners reject freeloader criticism

Camper-van owners reject freeloader criticism

Anton McNulty

Camper van enthusiasts have called on caravan park owners to provide onsite parking ‘with or without services’ if they want to attract their business.
The Motor Home Association were reacting to a report carried in The Mayo News (July 17) in which caravan-park owners called for bye-laws to be introduced in Mayo to prevent overnight parking of caravans, camper vans and tents on the roadside in the county.
Camper-van operators in particular were criticised for parking overnight without using local facilities, such as caravan sites. Speaking to The Mayo News, Joe Lavelle of Lavelle’s Caravan Park in Dugort, Achill, also said that ‘cheeky’ camper-van owners were parking just outside the caravan parks and availing of parks’ facilities without paying any fees.
However, the Motor Home Association (MHA) has rejected the suggestion that camper van operators use caravan site facilities without paying. Christine Quinn of MHA contacted The Mayo News and said if this does occur, the site operator should provide evidence and report the details to the Gardaí.
“I have never heard of motor-home tourists using a site facility without staying at the site. A site owner has, as this site owner knows, the law to protect his business and can stop any one abusing his site,” she said. 
Ms Quinn went on to suggest that site owners should offer a parking-excluding-services option, as many motor-home owners only want to stop over.  “If site owners want motor home tourism they need to offer parking with or without services. The van tours throughout the day and is not on site.”
Ms Quinn also said that the caravan-site industry has ‘for too long gone unsupervised’, and said that caravan site owners have continued to raise their prices despite not being to standard.
The practice of camper vans parking overnight along the roadside has become an issue in other tourism areas around the country, with councillors in Cork also calling for bye-laws to be introduced to discourage the practice.