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Councillors to review parking charges in Mayo

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REVIEW AHEAD A parking sign at The Fairgreen, Westport. Pic: Ciara Moynihan

Anton McNulty


A REVIEW of parking charges in the county will take place in the new year after it was revealed that the council has lost €800,000 in charges since the abolition of town councils.
The matter of parking charges was raised at the recent annual budget meeting of Mayo County Council by Westport councillor Peter Flynn. The Fine Gael whip pointed out that since the abolition of town councils, Mayo County Council has lost revenue generated by parking charges. He asked for a review of parking incomes and the way they are implemented into the future.
Dismissing suggestions that Covid is to blame, Cllr Flynn explained that in Ballina alone, parking-generated revenue has fallen from €852,000 in 2013 to €456,000 in 2020.
“If you take the county as a whole, in 2013 we took in €2.3 million in car-parking charges, and in 2020 we took in €1.5 million – down €800,000. Let no one tell me Covid explains all of that. Yes it plays a role, but the single most important view is that the eye has been taken off the ball for too long on key income sources into this county.
“The gap in parking income is so significant I ask for a review of the parking incomes and recommendations on how we go forward from 2022 onwards,” he said.
Cllr Flynn added the car park in Murrisk generates €40,000 in revenue, and that he feels charges at other popular sites, such as Knock, Downpatrick Head and Keem Bay, where parking is currently free, should be explored.
“Knock is the largest pilgrim site in the country. Can you imagine if the Vatican controlled the car parks in Knock? And what do we get? Zero,” he said.

Hackles raised
The matter of parking charges has become a contentious issue among some councillors particularly in Westport, where on-street charges were only introduced in 2018 after a long battle to stop them by many local councillors.
While supporting Cllr Flynn’s proposal, Claremorris councillor Tom Connolly was critical of how on-street parking charges are applied in Westport.
“I find it a bit rich from some of the West Mayo councillors coming here looking for extra funding for this that and the other [after they] refused to change the car-parking charges in Westport,” he said.
This raised the hackles of some of the Westport councillors, with Cllr Christy Hyland claiming he was castings aspersions on West Mayo, while Cllr Brendan Mulroy told Cllr Connolly to look after his own area.