County council votes for free December parking

The Galway County Council has voted to allow free parking throughout the county throughout December.

It is hoped the scheme will encourage more people to shop locally and will commence on December 3 and until December 28

Although the majority of councillors in the chamber welcomed the decision many believed that it was crucial that the council promoted the scheme.

Sinn Féin councillor Gabriel Cronnelly said: “I definitely welcome it but it would be important to advertise that free parking is available.”

Cllr Michael Fahy suggested that signs should be erected on entry and exits points of towns. “I request that a notice in each town would be erected. People still put money into the parking meters. [The signs] Would be a good PR job for Galway County Council and the signs would be erected and taken down at end of the Christmas season.”

Cllr Eileen Mannion said it should be highlighted that this scheme is for shoppers and should not be taken advantage of by workers: “Free parking is beneficial to a lot of business in Clifden. However, it is for people to shop and there needs to be a parking space turnover. It is not for workers and business owners.”

According to Fine Gael councillor Aidan Donohue, it is important that the council gets feedback from businesses to see if the scheme is having the desired effect.

“[The decision] Is very welcome. However, I think we should engage with businesses to see if it increases shopping. The council needs feedback to see if it is a benefit and not a box ticking exercise.”

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