Tuesday 17 February 2009

Council to revise Croke Park parking ban

DUBLIN CITY Council’s plans to ban match-goers from parking within two kilometres from Croke Park are to be revised following more than 100 objections to the proposed bylaws.

All non-residents were to be banned from parking within the 2km cordon during matches. Those who flouted the ban would risk having their vehicle clamped or removed and have to pay a fee for their release. Several TDs raised concerns about the ban, including former taoiseach Bertie Ahern who was worried that the parking restriction would stop people attending Mass.

Senior city council officials last September recommended the bylaws be scrapped following the predominantly negative reaction to the public consultation process.

However, councillors voted to defer a decision pending talks with the Croke Park authorities, the Department of Transport, public transport providers and the Garda.

The executive manager of the council’s traffic department Tim O’Sullivan has said that during these discussions it emerged that the issue of people not being able to attend Mass was a “red herring” because most services took place outside the proposed parking restriction hours, and in the case of services during the restriction, people would not get parking anyway because of match-goers taking all the spaces.

Objections raised in relation to access to pubs, restaurants and other businesses were also red herrings Mr O’Sullivan said, as again people cannot get parking anyway because of match-goers.

However, he said complaints in relation to displacement of the parking problem to areas just outside the cordon were valid and studies should be carried out in order to quantify this effect. The introduction of “park and ride” should also be investigated. The Garda re-iterated its opposition to the bylaws, Mr O’Sullivan said.

The council’s transport committee has decided the bylaws should be amended to reflect some of the concerns which emerged in the consultation process, and that a new draft be put out to public consultation. However, it is unlikely that new bylaws will be in place to deal with the parking problems which will occur during this year’s GAA season.

Fianna Fáil councillor Mary Fitzpatrick, who originally proposed the bylaws, said the response to the public consultation, including from those who objected on the grounds of parking displacement, showed how severe the parking problems associated with Croke Park were.

“This is a densely populated area with little or no off-street parking. The public consultation process served to underline the serious problems with traffic around Croke Park,” she said.

The current proposed cordon stretches north to Griffith Avenue, south to Talbot Street, Gardiner Street and Parnell Square, east to North Strand Road and west to Botanic Road.

Councillors and TDs, including Seán Haughey (FF), Richard Bruton (FG) and Finian McGrath (Ind) whose constituents lived just outside those areas said the parking problem would be transferred to areas on the cordon’s margins.

Irish Times


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