Barry Kehoe has said it is not appropriate to donate to charity €684 paid by the public for parking on a recent free-parking day.
While he admitted the council may have work to do to improve signage for future free-parking days, he said the money paid by people who did not realise they could park for free has been spent on important public services.
He was responding to a query from Cllr Frankie Keena, who said a lot of people were concerned about the issue.
People were probably informed about the day through local media, he said, but on the day they did not, or could not see signage.
Cllr Keena wanted to know if parking machines could be decommissioned so people do not put their money in on special days, but again, Mr Kehoe said this is not possible.
He said the machines are preset, and they cannot simply be turned on and off without the risk of causing “all kinds of problems”.
He said the council will simply have to learn from its mistakes and move on.
“I take on board what you say about publicising,” he said, adding that he couldn’t say what publicising had been done in advance of the Fairgreen free-parking day.