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Match day parking ‘a nightmare’ for residents

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BIG CROWDS Supporters queueing outside MacHale Park for Mayo’s clash with Donegal in 2019. Residents in the nearby MacHale Road (houses seen at the top of the photo) have complained about parking outside their homes on days of big games at the home of Mayo GAA. Pic: Sportsfile

Anton McNulty

RESIDENTS living in the environs of MacHale Park say that big match days at the home of Mayo GAA have become a ‘nightmare’ for them. An open letter to members and the executive of the Castlebar Municipal District was read out at their monthly meeting last Wednesday where the concerns of residents of McHale Road were outlined.
In the letter, John Fair, the secretary of the McHale Road residents’ association stated that on the day of big matches the road was being blocked off by GAA patrons.
“When there is a big match in MacHale Park, the lives of the residents are totally disrupted by irresponsible people parking their cars. McHale Road is one of the oldest estates in the town with some households owning two or three cars and on match day it can be very difficult for them to find parking spaces outside their own home.
“It is a nightmare for the residents trying to find a parking space outside their homes on Mayo GAA match days. This often leads to confrontations between residents and these drivers, which is totally avoidable and unnecessary if parking on our road is properly controlled,” he said.
Mr Fair explained that McHale Road is used by patrons because there is no pay parking fees along the road and they are ‘too lazy’ to seek a more appropriate parking space away from the road.
He also noted that the road was being used as a car park by people using the train who do not want to pay for parking at the nearby train station.
Residents in a number of estates around MacHale Park raised concerns about patrons using residential areas for parking following the recent Connacht championship game between Mayo and Galway in June.
At the time there were complaints of residents being blocked from leaving their own home and of grass areas being dug up by vehicles parking on them.
This Saturday, Mayo face Monaghan in MacHale Park a crucial qualifier game in the All-Ireland Championship game with a crowd of 15,000 expected to attend.
Cllr Blackie Gavin told the meeting that what the residents of McHale Road and other estates have to endure on match days is ‘not good enough’.
“There are carers who couldn’t get into McHale Road to visit people who are sick. It was chock-a-bloc and it is scandalous what is going on.
“I want some contact with Mayo GAA board and for the likes of this to never happen again. It is absolutely scandalous that people in that area are being treated like this. I want it resolved,” he said.
Cllr Donna Sheridan, who raised the issue following the Galway game, agreed with Cllr Gavin and asked if the local authority and the Gardaí can do something on match day to help the residents.
In his letter, Mr Fair said residents of McHale Road asked the municipal district to put up a sign at the entrance of the road stating that parking is for residents only and for each household to be issued with a parking permit.
“I believe such a system exists in Westport. I don’t think this request is unreasonable, like any community, we are entitled to have a reasonable quality of life that is being denied us at this time,” he wrote.