Ballina town councillors have asked that the town council give three hours free parking in the town each day in the lead up to Christmas. Independent councillor Mary Kelly, proposed that the council give free parking from 10am to 1pm every day from December 8 until Christmas to give a boost to the retailers in the town centre. She told the meeting: “They are the rate payers in the town and they need our support in the lead up to Christmas.”
Cllr Kelly’s motion was seconded by Fine Gael councillor Josie Egan. There was full support for the idea from all the other members of the council with Cllr Mark Winters saying: “It would incentivise the people to come into town and do their shopping, and hopefully stay on longer. It’s a good incentive we should offer.” Fianna Fáil councillor Johnny O’Malley, while supporting Cllr Kelly’s motion, also put forward the idea that if the council would not follow through on the original motion, it should consider giving one hour’s free parking for every hour that someone pays for as another option as an incentive to bring people into the middle of the town to shop.
Acting town manager Paul Benson told the meeting: “I wish when ye were thinking of ideas like this they would have been included in the budget figures for the year, because we’ve budgeted income for parking charges.” He went on to say that he would look at the issue and get back to all the members next week on it.